Following the declaration of the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu as the President-Elect of Nigeria, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) said the country’s new government must take bold and inclusive steps toward the country’s energy transition.
The body noted that the current push towards net-zero presents a challenge to African countries like Nigeria that rely on dirtier fuels for both export revenue and domestic energy.
Although NRGI in a monthly email update said the situation in the country presents an opportunity for Nigeria to transition its own energy system to improve energy access, reduce oil- and gas-related pollution, and develop industries to supply this transition, citizens must have a better understanding of and a greater say in the country’s energy transition plan.
Noting that none of the major candidates had referenced the country’s $1.9 trillion transition plan, calling it a grave omission, NGRI said there was a need to mitigate the risk to Nigeria’s dependent economy.
“As Nigeria’s oil export customers transition their own energy systems and reduce demand for Nigerian oil, Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy and government finances will be increasingly exposed to risk which the energy transition plan does not adequately acknowledge.
“Nigeria’s next government should map risks to government revenues, employment, foreign exchange, supply chains, and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) investments,” NRGI said in the document developed by interim Africa director and West Africa (Anglophone) regional manager at the NRGI, Nafi Chinery and Senior Officer with NRGI’s Nigeria programme, Tengi George Ikoli.
Calling for spending that spurs sustainable development beyond oil, the body insisted that Nigeria must attract investment from donors, financial institutions and philanthropists in order to implement its energy transition plan and diversify the economy beyond oil.
It said: “The new government should provide incentives that encourage tangible investments in infrastructure, human resources, technology and other areas essential to delivering on the ETP rather than taking on unsustainable debt.”
NRGI equally asked the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to ensure that the energy plan aligned with existing federal and state plans.
Stressing the need to resolve environmental legacy issues, the institute said as transition minerals, such as lithium gain more importance in the global transition, the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development must first address legacy mining issues, including environmental degradation and related social conflict to minimize the impacts before seeking to benefit.
It urged the government to clarify what its expectations are for gas use for economic development and domestic gas energy systems, adding that it must map out the infrastructure, finance and system gaps that have foiled previous gas expansion efforts.
NRGI called for seamless collaboration and buy-in to the objectives of the plan from government institutions, insisting that massive investment in gas would be required to drive its use as a transition fuel and reduce spending on oil, as set out in the plan.
“NRGI has found that oil-producing communities, women and youth groups appear to be the least consulted and prioritized in the current ETP. Implementing it requires buy-in and active participation. Few Nigerians understand the plan, how it applies to average people, or their role in making it a success. Citizens cannot get behind a plan that they don’t understand—especially if they are to change energy use (from petrol and diesel to power businesses and households, and from kerosene and charcoal for electricity and cooking) to the solar and biogas sources the plan envisions,” it said.