WE have seen that relying on crude oil only will not help Nigeria. This is why we are in the mess we find ourselves economically today. I think the first thing the Minister of Solid Minerals should do is to highlight the deposits in the country; we have gold, coal, copper, iron-ore, etc in commercial quantities in different parts of the country, and once the mapping is done, then we can know the next step.
Before the discovery of oil in Ghana, gold was the mainstay of the economy; in Australia, coal and gold are the major natural resources they rely on for survival. South Africa relies on gold and diamonds, and these countries built thriving economies out of these deposits.
These are the resources we also have in the country, and I am happy that someone who is tested and trusted is managing the revival, in person of Dr Fayemi. I also want us to look at the agriculture sector; I am happy with the work done by the former minister, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, and the choice of Dr Audu Ogbeh to lead the ministry is a good one.
There are also countries that rely only on agricultural produce as their major foreign income; Cote D’Ivoire survives on cocoa, while Indonesia earns huge income from palm oil. Cuba and other Carribean countries survive on sugar, and these are commodities we can develop in Nigeria. Our problem is just laziness.
I hope to see our dependence on oil reduce in the next couple of years, with solid minerals and agriculture funding our future budgets.
This period is a time for our ministers to work harder; it is not a period to brag about their positions, but a period to give their all to the economic survival of the nation. Nigerians voted for this current government to experience change from how things were done, to a new way of doing things. We, therefore, want other sectors to displace oil so that Nigeria can truly develop.
We cannot continue to rely on oil in Nigeria. In the past, there were just few countries producing oil, and those were the years oil was profitable; today, many other countries are now oil producers, and it is going to a situation where each country will now be consuming the oil it produces.
Therefore, Nigerians should wake up from their slumber; we need to face a new reality that we can prosper without oil.
- Esther Ibe,