Ikeja Electric signs deal for better power supply from Ayobo

By Adedapo Adesanya

Former Nigerian President Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo has said that Africa must take charge of its own energy destiny and use its rich resources for the benefit of its own people.

His comments come in support of Africa Oil Week (AOW), which is needed as the world scrambles to find new sources of oil and gas to meet its energy needs in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In this regard, Mr Obasanjo noted that African countries could not be committed to the unrealistic ideals of the Global North for an economy driven solely by renewable energy, saying this is especially true if the developed world itself accepts the need for hydrocarbons.

“Like the rest of the world, Africa needs to pursue energy policies that promote socio-economic development and sustainable use of hydrocarbons,” he said.

The former head of state, who ruled Africa’s largest crude oil producer from 1999 to 2007, said: “Africa is the producer of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions and needs to lift almost half a billion citizens out of poverty.

“Responsible stewardship of our hydrocarbons and investment in our economies are necessary to ensure an equitable energy transition and sustainable growth for our people.”

The European Union (EU) had previously announced plans to cut oil supplied by Russia by up to 90 percent by the end of 2022, and the announcement has already caused global energy costs to skyrocket.

Africa is one of the potential new energy sources to replace this supply, with an estimated 61 billion barrels of oil equivalent discovered in the region over the past 10 years.

Mr. Obasanjo’s view aligns with that of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), which also urged member countries and other global institutions to use petroleum as a catalyst for energy security, sustainable development and economic diversification in Africa through collaboration and partnerships.

Mr Obasanjo was a key leader of post-colonial Africa, having overseen Nigeria’s transition to representative democracy. Since retiring from government, he has been a senior statesman actively involved in defining geopolitical issues – including energy.

He also helped shape Nigeria’s modern oil industry and initiated political reforms that have transformed the country into an energy superpower on the African continent.

“Building an African oil industry that benefits Africa’s people requires strong policies and regulation.

“During my reign, we enacted oil and gas policy reforms that helped build a modern oil and gas hub. There were many insights that we can apply across the region. I look forward to discussing these opportunities for Africa.”

He then called for an accelerated dialogue on the sustainable development of hydrocarbons and Africa’s role as a supplier of global energy needs.

“There was a lot of talk about a fair energy transition at forums like the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. However, we must not allow Africa to dictate to us. Discussions at AOW will be crucial in charting a new energy course for Africa. We’ll decide what’s best for us,” he said.

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