Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has said that the fear of the unknown, especially when oil revenue is no more, accounts for why some Nigerians are kicking against the country’s restructuring.
He noted that as some countries are already phasing out petrol and diesel automobiles, the product was fast losing its value in the global economy.
Mr. Ekweremadu’s statement was contained in his speech in an event organized by Association of Nsukka Professors at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he delivered the Third Adada Lecture titled “Restructuring and Nigerian Youth”.
The senator who warned against over-reliance on oil said that; “Above all, there is the fear of survival under fiscal federalism. Some feel they are better off with free monies from Abuja, which could actually be pittances compared to what they could generate if they begin to access the bountiful wealth, such as solid minerals buried in their soils.
“Ironically, oil is fast going out of fashion. Many countries have found oil in large quantities, including those that used to patronise our oil.
“Importantly, it should worry us that many countries are already phasing out petrol and diesel engines. In July 2017, the United Kingdom announced plans to stop the production of petrol and gas-powered cars from 2040. As a champion of the efforts to preserve the earth, France has also unveiled plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Norway has what its former Minister of Climate and environment, Vidar Helgeson, called strong policy actions to ensure that zero fossil fuel cars is sold in the Nordic country by 2025.
“With the second highest concentration of electric cars in Europe, Netherlands is already targeting an emissions-free environment by 2030, which automatically rules out petrol and diesel-powered cars. In fact, it wants at least 200,000 electric cars on her roads by year 2020, which is only two years from now.
“The German Parliament, the Bundesrat, passed a resolution in 2016 seeking a ban on such engines starting from 2030. Although the resolution is not legally binding, Germany already had a policy to put at least 1million electric cars on her roads by year 2020. India plans to sell only electric cars by 2030, which is about the next 13 years. Air pollution causes about 1.2 million deaths annually in the Asian country and costs her economy about 3 per cent of GDP. Denmark, Spain, South Korea, Ireland, Austria, and Japan are also in the race to phase-out petrol and diesel cars.”
He urged Nigerian youths not to divide because of the subject of restructuring, but rather deploy their energies and social media skills to fight for their future by promoting the restructuring of Nigeria, which according to him would promote good governance, employment opportunities etc.
“The youth should have a patriotic mind of their own to fix a broken federal system. The hardship, poverty, and retrogression, which our disjointed federal system imposes on Nigerians, have no tribal or regional marks.
“The man from Jigawa bears the brunt of the failures of the past 50 years just like his counterparts from Enugu, Oyo, Bayelsa, and Gombe.
“Just like cobwebs, errors, injustice, and socio-economic woes make progress due to the inattention of the occupants of the home. And unless Nigeria does something drastic and substantial to address its problems, the ensuing damage may be generational.”