Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has said that Nigeria’s economy will become sustainable if attention is shifted from oil to the non oil sector.
Abiodun stated this on Saturday in Ibadan while speaking at the 6th Senator Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable and 74th Posthumous Birthday, organized by the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan.
He said the nation could achieve diversification by shifting focus to mineral resources, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and technology.
Governor Abiodun noted that the world is gradually moving away from fossil fuel, hence the need for the country to begin to look for other sources of revenue.
He said : “As I have mentioned earlier, the world is slowly moving away from fossil fuels as more countries embark on energy transition, therefore the need to actively diversified economy into non-oil sectors such as mineral resources, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and technology.
“Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of over 40 commercially viable mineral and natural resources that we as a people and government have not explored.
“While no official figures have been put forward, industry experts report that Nigeria’s solid mineral deposits are valued at over $1 trillion with some estimates as high as $5 trillion.
“Take, for example, my State, Ogun State, where we have over 15 natural mineral resources present in commercial quantities in all our local governments but only actively mine limestone, granite and laterite.
“In fact, we are the largest producer of solid mineral resources in Nigeria and account for just over 32.04 metric tons of mineral resources or 37.6% of national output.
“Imagine if, as a country, we are able to tap into all other solid minerals like gold, lithium, tantalite (a crucial mineral for electronics manufacturing), tin, barite, etc.
“The possibilities are endless, especially if we engage in value-chain addition in the country.”
He said the theme of the roundtable, “Re-engineering Nigeria For Sustainable Development : Options, Costs and Prospects”, was apt, as factors like youth engagement, collaboration with international organisations and neighbouring countries, embracing technological advancement and fostering innovation could accelerate economic diversification and growth.
Abiodun lamented Nigeria’s over- reliance on oil exports, which he said exposes her mono-economy as unsustainable in the face of volatility of oil prices due to supply and demand, market forces, vandalization and oil theft.
The governor emphasised that re-engineering Nigeria for sustainable development is an intricate and multifaceted endeavour.
He expressed optimism that the nation’s abundant resources and youthful population provide the needed solid foundation, but that addressing challenges such as infrastructure deficits, and economic diversification was imperative.
Senator Ajimobi, the governor stated, was as quintessential as he was kind, gifted and an exceptional communicator, who through hardwork, attained early success in the oil and gas industry and emerged a developmental political juggernaut worthy of emulation.
In his keynote address, the Minister for Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, attributed the nation’s problems to leadership and followership issues.
He said that though Nigeria is blessed with abundance of resources and has contributed quality men and women to lead many international organizations, she is still far from development due to lack of quality leadership.
The Minister lamented that many multi-nationals are pulling out of Nigeria because of high cost of doing business in the country.
He noted that it was high time Nigeria begin to focus on education, youth development, technical training, while the health and power sector should be revitalized and leadership and fellowship issues should be dealt with.
Moderator of the event, Tajudeen Akanji, in his opening remarks, said that despite the nation’s wealth, it does not show on the citizens as there is poverty in the land.
He said to re-engineer the country entails broad and general education for all, reasonable income for the people, functional middle class, functional administration, social services, and respect for the rule of law.