By Dare Akogun
In a bid to drive the level of discourse on oil dependency and the nexus with energy transition in the Nigerian economy, the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), through its Natural Resource and Extractives Programme (NAREP), has held a one day capacity building workshop for media and Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria.
The hybrid workshop, themed; “Oil Dependency in Nigeria: Imagining a Future Beyond Oil”, in partnership with Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) held in Abuja had over 50 participants including journalists from the extractive sector, CSOs, and social media influencers in attendance.
A statement by both think tank organisations stated that the workshop was geared towards improving the understanding of oil dependency and the nexus with energy transition to better communicate the impact on Nigeria and the Nigerian economy.
NRGI, Senior Officer Tengi -George-Ikoli, said Nigeria is at a critical point in its development. As a fossil fuel dependent country, it is important that Nigeria develops its own strategy to engage the shifting global focus away from oil.
According to her, “Nigeria must develop its own medium to long term strategy to mitigate the likely export and government revenue losses from a shrinking market base as these countries look to reducing oil reliance beyond 2030.”
Tengi said Nigeria must make strategic decisions in the way it spends its limited revenues, take economic diversification more seriously, leveraging regional and global opportunities beyond oil and including new frontier possibilities available in the green economy.
In his remarks the Acting Executive Director at CJID, Tobi Oluwatola, reiterates the need for capacity building for the media and the CSOs, noting that they are in the best position to enlighten the public from an informed perspective.
He said: “It is time for Civil Society Organisations, journalists, and policy experts to have this discussion, most especially as Nigeria plans to achieve net zero by 2060. There is a need for CSOs to be empowered with the right skills to be able to do the right advocacy and accountability work in Nigeria”.
Changing the Status Quo
Energy transition is believed to play a vital role in sustainable development and climate resilience and advocacy is, therefore, a crucial enabler to change the status quo as noted by participants at the workshop.
Precious Charles, an officer with Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) said the workshop provided an avenue “for media and CSOs to improve reporting procedures by not only looking at the extent of dependence but also the indicators of government interest and reporting points”.
She added: “A lot of the issues raised really challenged journalists on how to write well-detailed articles that will challenge the policymakers to make the right decisions. We need to continue advocating for the decarbonization of the energy sector and push Nigeria into the age of energy transition”.
Dipo Oladehinde, a Business Day reporter opined that “the workshop was rich in terms of the quality of speakers who made presentations about the subject matter. ”
He said: “My biggest takeaway from the event is how Nigeria may be sleeping and ignoring an open secret concerning how the world is undergoing an energy transition from fossil fuels to a system based on renewable energy sources”.
In his final remarks, Akintunde Babatunde, Deputy Director, Development Practice, CJID, emphasised as energy transition persists globally, Nigeria as a monolithic fossil fuel dependent economy has to prepare for what the shift to cleaner energy sources means for its economy.
“Data is pointing us to the fact that Nigeria will likely lose a majority of its foreign exchange earnings and revenues for both the federal and subnational government, Infact it is already happening, because Nigeria is at a critical point in its development process, it is important for professionals to discuss the way forward on how the decisions we make as a country are more important now than ever.”