The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, has raised concern over the way the nation’s crude oil has been used in the last 60 years, saying the country has yet to achieve major development with oil revenue.
Kukah stated this in Lagos at a lecture organised in commemoration of the 60th birthday of the Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr. Austin Avuru.
The lecture had the theme, ‘’60 years after: Preparing for a Nigeria without oil.’
“I think the critical question is: what did we do with our oil? Today, we are a country that cannot feed ourselves. Today, we are a country that cannot provide education for our children. Today, we have become a country that is unable to generate and distribute electricity. Today, we have become a country that cannot provide railway lines,” he said.
He said Nigerians had been at war with one another over the years because oil led the country into war.
Kukah, who chaired the occasion, said, “We are still gathering the consequences of that war, and I think almost everyday in Nigeria, the country remains permanently at war. I heard recently that you can actually include surviving in Nigeria in your CV because it is such a great achievement. I think the question, if we are asking what will Nigeria be without oil, is what was Nigeria with oil.
“The question is: how did we as a nation end up with such a gargantuan level of appetite driven by greed; greed driven by a society that is growing economically but a society where the people themselves are increasingly being diminished?”
The bishop said the country had become addicted to oil, adding, “It drives our politics. It drives everything we have to do in Nigeria.
“Many people have referred to oil as a curse, but my argument is that this is an illusion; I don’t believe that oil is a curse. Having oil intrinsically was never really meant to be a curse. I think what is most important is what we have done with our oil. Perhaps it has shut the creativity part of our brains.”
Kukah added, “Nigeria without oil might help us to think a lot bit more clearly about what our future might look like. I think the question we should also ask is: how did we become a country with such a capacity for internal self-implosion? How did it happen?”
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