Nigeria’s acting president, Osinbajo tells Africa: “Zero oil years now upon us”

Nigeria’s acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, has bluntly told oil producing African countries, including his country that the era of crude oil being the first-choice fuel source in global economy was fast coming to an end, warning that they must now begin to invest their today’s oil revenue in building new systems for clean renewable energy.

Osinbajo, a keynote speaker at the extraordinary meeting of the council of ministers of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) in Abuja, said there are obvious signs that clean renewable energy would displace fossil fuel in a matter of time, and requested African countries to convince themselves of this development before it became too late to transition.

“This session holds at a very significant time for our continent and countries. A time when we as a continent and indeed the rest of the world are witnessing volatility in the petroleum market and by implication our local economies,” said Osinbajo.

He explained: “Over the last three years or so, oil producing countries across the world have experienced the full impact of the drop in oil prices with significant negative impact on government revenues and budgets and on the value of national currencies.

“The reality of a future where demand for and revenues from oil drop sharply is already upon us and almost every major oil importing country today has embarked on an aggressive non-fossil fuel alternative programme. China, Japan and some Scandinavian states have already set dates within the next 10 to 15 years to produce and use only electric vehicles. The zero oil days are clearly around the corner.”

The acting president stated that Nigeria was taking up far-reaching reforms in its energy sector, to encourage greater use of renewable sources, adding: “Our government revenues and export bases are in dire need of diversification away from the dependence on natural resources that we have seen in the past. But also the paradox is inescapable that we need oil to get out of our dependency on oil.”

Calling on APPO to lead the continent’s move away from total dependence on fossil fuel for her energy needs, he said: “We know, of course, that the prosperity of Africa ultimately lies in its human resources and talents and not in anything that we extract from the earth. But as the world begins to move in the direction of alternative and clean energy, the reform of APPO should factor in these new realities and aim to reposition the organisations as a clear leader in this regard.”

“We must convince ourselves of the imperatives of investing today’s fossil fuel revenues in the clean energy technologies that are already defining today and tomorrow,” he added.

Nigeria recently turned to renewable energy sources to bring down its high energy poverty defined by her 89 million people that do not have electricity connected to their homes. The country said it now sees distributed renewable energy as its surest way to reduce her energy poverty level.