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Restructuring: Fear fueling resistance, says Ekweremadu

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu

Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has said fear of the unknown, especially how to survive in the absence of free oil money, is responsible for continued resistance to restructuring.

He described the position as ironical because oil is losing its value in the global economy, as nations have begun phasing out petrol and diesel-powered cars.

Ekweremadu spoke at the University of Nigeria Nsukka while delivering the Third Adada Lecture, entitled, ‘Restructuring and the Nigerian Youth’, organised by the Association of Nsukka Professors at the weekend.

He said: “There is a gross misunderstanding of restructuring. There is the problem of political and ethno-sectional interests and sentiments. There is the fear of abuse of a decentralised police system. There is the fear of losing perceived advantages.

“Above all, there is the fear of survival under fiscal federalism. Some feel they are better off with free money from Abuja, which could actually be pittances compared to what they could generate if they begin to access bountiful wealth, such as solid minerals buried in their soils.

“Ironically, oil is fast going out of fashion. Many countries have found oil in large quantities, including those that used to patronise our oil. Importantly, it should worry us that many countries are already phasing out petrol and diesel engines. In July 2017, the United Kingdom announced plans to stop the production of petrol and gas-powered cars from 2040. As a champion of the efforts to preserve the earth, France has also unveiled plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Norway has what its former Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgeson, called strong policy actions to ensure that zero fossil fuel cars is sold in the Nordic country by 2025.

“With the second highest concentration of electric cars in Europe, Netherlands is already targeting an emissions-free environment by 2030, which automatically rules out petrol and diesel-powered cars. In fact, it wants at least 200,000 electric cars on her roads by year 2020, which is only two years from now.

“The German parliament passed a resolution in 2016 seeking a ban on such engines starting from 2030. Although the resolution is not legally binding, Germany already has a policy to put at least 1 million electric cars on her roads by year 2020. India plans to sell only electric cars by 2030, which is about the next 13 years.”


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