The Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese of the Catholic Church, Dr. Mathew Hassan Kukah has enjoined Nigerians to prepare for a post oil withdrawal syndrome (POWS), noting that 60 years after oil was first found in commercial quantity, the nation could neither feed itself nor adequately educate its youths or provide power.
He also blamed multinational companies operating in the country for greed from oil discovery, poor state of the country’s economy and the current crisis across its regions.
Speaking at a lecture to mark the 60th birthday of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr. Austin Avuru in Lagos yesterday, Kukah stated that following the scenario, all that was left for the country was to manage and improve to be capable.
According to him, “Many people have referred to oil as a cause, but my argument is that it is an illusion and I don’t believe oil is a curse to Nigeria. Having oil was never meant to be a curse. I think what is important to ask ourselves is ‘what did we do with our oil. Perhaps it has shut the creativity part of our brain; perhaps Nigeria without oil would help us to think more clearly about what our future might look like.
“The question also should be how did we become a country with such capacity for internal self-inclusion? How did it happen? We are where we are because the multi-national corporation, colonialism destroyed our country. It is clear because everywhere you look – be it factory, health, education, roads, etc, and all the things that were left behind for us, we have proven to be incapable.
“So the idea that we can outsource our obligations and responsibility to external forces does not address the custom. Thinking forward of how our country might be is also about privileging intellect and individuals over and above the material resources that we have.”
He explained that the country was in need of ensuring full commitment to the laid down rules of politics, adding that “the fore-test of the current crisis is captured in the metaphor of the Fulani herdsmen crisis that existed and how we resolve all those questions is a major of what our future is going to be like.
“I would say that no game can progress without a commitment to the rules of engagement. We substituted military to civilian rule and many years later we are unable to democratise.
“All of the character being shown, whether it is defection today or carpet crossing is evident that something is internally wrong with us. It is not about the defections ongoing, but you get the sense of ‘Dé-jà-vu’ in these entire crises. The point is that we must return to the sense of rules of engagement.
“The second is to subscribe to the proposition that democracy is not only about rules and regulations, elections, or politicians. We must submit and commit ourselves to the fact that each and every one of us has a role to play in the development of our country and the quality of our politics is such that it does not redeem itself.
“If we are to take anything at all from Nigeria with oil, is that it led us to a bandit economy, commitment to breaking the laws, believe that somehow we can prevail without the discipline required. The last point is that it is the only condition for us to create an egalitarian society.
“A Nigeria with or without oil must be committed to the post-legitimate pursuit of happiness of each of its citizens.”