Discovery of Petroleum a curse to Nigeria – Orji Kalu
By Lawrence Nwimo
Former Abia state governor and current chief whip at the senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has said that the discovery of oil in Nigeria was a curse to the country, rather than blessing.
Kalu said this while addressing Nigeria youths in Awka, Friday, during a youth mentorship programme tagged ‘Stanel Youths Empowerment Master Class.’
Speaking at the event organised by Stanel World, Kalu said that Nigeria, over the years, had relied heavily on revenue from oil such that it abandoned the other areas where useful revenue could have been generated.
Kalu said that the dependence on oil had hindered development of other sectors of the economy and stopped the Nigeria leaders from thinking agriculture, forgetting that agriculture had sustained the economy even before the discovery of petroleum in the country. He averred that, until the country returned to its agricultural base, it would continue to struggle economically.
Kalu, who reiterated the importance of agriculture to the Nigeria economy, said that Nigeria must emulate countries like Malaysia and China who, according to him, grew their economy by focusing on agriculture and innovations.
He also said that the problem militating industrial production in Nigeria was poor infrastructure and electricity, adding that irregular electricity supply in the country had hindered many businesses and discouraged most investors. He maintained that electricity was key to everything involving productivity in every part of the world.
He urged Nigeria youths to stand up and replicate the entrepreneurial feats recorded in late nineties and early twenties by Nigerians including Chisco, Allen Onyema, Aliko Dangote and other renowned achievers that made names across the countries in their youths.
He lauded billionaire businessmen in Southeast who turned the region to competitive market where both Nnewi and Aba competed against each other. He urged youths to emulate same and invest in areas like agriculture and technologies stating that opportunities abounded in the sectors.
“In our days, we had factories in Nnewi and in Aba and even competed against each other on business and productivity but now the competition is gone because there is no electricity. We cannot assure of the future of the youths without production. We must go back to agriculture to regain our economic stand.
“Production is the key in China and Malaysia. They cannot do without agriculture. They produce to feed the people first then export to other countries. Today China is the warehouse of every country of the world same thing as Malaysia.
“No country depends on petroleum. Petrol is a curse to Nigeria. It has made Nigerians not to work hard and think deep.”
While stressing the need for the youths to remain committed in their personal development, he said youths must be agents of change and not destruction. ” being youth is a commitment to serve. They challenge to do what elderly people cannot do. They should give commitment to something that is dying in the society.
“If youths can come up to do what they have to do there would be no need for riots on the road. Their demonstration must be civilised not to destroy private investments of Nigerians and public facilities. It is unethical to be youth and destroy things.”
He advised the youths to turn round and seek mentorship from their elders encouraging them to come under one boat to make the country better.