“The year is 2021 and as a Nation, we still are blindly majorly dependent on the income we get from oil”

CHOOSE A COLOUR, any colour would do. Now hold that thought, I’ll get back to it. Let us talk oil. The oil boom of the early ’90s brought about a revolution in the Nigerian economy. Opportunities were birthed and the economy experienced exponential growth. But, with all the good tidings oil brought—it came with a partner Nigerians and her politicians did not prepare for—dependency. Pure arrogant blind dependency on the then liquid gold.

The year is 2021 and as a Nation, we are still blindly dependent on the income we get from oil, seeing as the national budget was planned based off solely on 90% of the proposed income from oil. Nigeria has forgotten the readily available diverse resources we once banked on. ‘Pre-oil boom’ we had economic diversity, but now everything is centred on the falling golden liquid. I will endeavour to reintroduce you to opportunities and resources present in our waters.

Let’s talk Blue! The blue economy is our oceans and their resources—sustainably utilizing the ocean’s resources to foster economic growth and the overall betterment of citizens’ lives. The ocean and water bodies occupy two-thirds of the earth’s space—Nigeria herself has 215 cubic kilometres of available water surface annually—let us not forget her underground waters too. Now one begins to reason, what doors of opportunities would be open if we utilize this blue economy and the heights we can achieve.

I would say we will experience an increase in employment, growth in tourism, improved renewable energy production, betterment in agriculture to say the least. In Nigeria, we have already started to harness the power of our blue economy in fisheries, shipbuilding, and sea mining. But what we are lacking is making our blue economy sustainable.

Nigeria annually runs into millions of dollars in losses in the shipbuilding industry. With water being a major means of transport for large cargoes in regional and international trades, giving precedence to the shipbuilding industry can be highly beneficial for us as a nation. Utilizing the shipbuilding industry and invariably the blue economy properly will create jobs for citizens and increase foreign exchange along with economic growth. And as technology evolves, we will be able to better harness the resources of the different aspects and opportunities present in the blue economy.

But even as we have not fully understood the inner workings of this coloured economy, humans have already started to over-exploit the aspects they understand. Overfishing and running fish species to the ground causing forced extinction, pollution of our oceans, and fear of the unknown pose a big threat to the adoption of the blue economy.

“Utilizing the shipbuilding industry and invariably the blue economy properly will create jobs for citizens and increase foreign exchange along with economic growth”

It is because of this the SDG 14-life below oceans was created to help mitigate and combat the environmental degradation caused by humans resulting in climate change.

Now, let’s get back to my request from earlier—Choose a colour. I hope you choose blue because that just might be the colour Nigeria needs to climb out of this ridge of poverty we have fallen.

“Choose a colour (Nigeria). I hope you choose blue”

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