A former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has warned that Nigeria’s over dependence on oil and gas resources would not take the country out of the doldrum.
Ezekwesili, gave the warning at the 1st National Education Summit organized by the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria with the theme ‘‘ Sustaining Local Content Through Quality Education and Training: Prospects and Challenges held in Lagos yesterday
According to her, without development of human capital and local content, Nigeria’s vast natural resources would amount to nothing when put at par with developed countries of the world.
“It doesn’t matter what quantity of oil and gas, and minerals still exist in our grounds, without developing human capacity and local content, we might as well be heading for collapse because oil and gas is a means to an end. The end is about the development of human capital,” she stated
Ezekwesili, noted that discretionary allocation of oil blocks gave rise to massive and grand corruption in Nigeria.
“To this end, government entrenched the system of licensing and marginal fields allocation in order to encourage local players but I guess politicians assumed marginal fields would be distributed to them without due process”.
To reverse the trend, she advised that right policies needed to be put in place in the oil and gas sector to avoid political sentiments taking over reasonability
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, advocated collaboration between the academia and the industry on researches to attract investments into country.
He noted that researches must be prioritised in order to keep up with the developmental changes in the world, adding that developmental frameworks that will address stumbling blocks to investments should also be put in place.
In his address, OGTAN’s President, Dr. Afe Mayowa, said the body was working on a couple of projects to encourage researches between oil and gas practitioners and the academia.
He listed some of the projects to include categorisation of member companies in line with international standard, issuance of guidelines for standardisation of training establishment of National Occupation Standard (NOS) in conjunction with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).