Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Demystifying Oil

The fixation with the Petroleum Industry by our leaders is simply mind-boggling to say the least.  The fact that a mono-economy has been shown to be a less than desirable state of affairs is immaterial to these set of people.  These leaders cannot be bothered that Petroleum has constituted more of a curse than a blessing to the nation. They still go  about as if our very being as a nation depend on the  black gold when the reverse is clearly the case.  I dare say without any fear of contradiction that without crude oil, Nigeria would have been a better country and a proud member of the world economic committee. We would be ranked up there with the world economic giants.
   With the avowed promise of President Buhari during the 2015 electioneering campaign, of improving the economic lot of Nigeria citizens,  one would have thought he would be proactive per the "oil conundrum." The first false step President Buhari took on assumption of power  is making himself the Petroleum Minister. This act, to all intents and purposes, shows that he is very much an "oil man." One would have thought he would have made himself the Minister of Agriculture to underscore the importance of the sector to his administration. The fact that billions of naira was budgeted to look for oil in the Chad basin is another pointer to the fact that crude oil still remain central to this administration policy thrust.
  At present President Buhari is in Saudi Arabia and later will be in Qatar on a week long meeting with the sole agenda of arresting the oil price free fall in the international market. This is coming at a time when the President's attention is sorely required at home considering the  current mauling of the naira by the dollar. N370 to the dollar for an importing country like Nigeria is enough reason for the President Buhari to stay put in Nigeria for now. Most developed nations like Japan, South Korea etc lack any sizeable mineral resources yet are wealthy through the conversion of imported raw materials into finished products. Rather than relying on crude oil Nigeria will do well to  invest massively in the agro-allied industry.  We have a huge comparative advantage in agriculture and common sense dictates this is the way to go. For our teeming unemployed youth the agriculture sector offers a veritable employment opportunities.  Figuratively speaking, what Buhari is looking for in Sokoto is right there in his sokoto pocket.