With over 160 million population and abundant energy and human potentials in Nigeria, majority of the citizens have no access to electricity, and are still relying on traditional biomass for heating and cooking needs, while those who have access are experiencing epileptic supply.
But experts say achieving the sustainable energy for all referred to as SE4ALL initiative, would provide the tonic Nigeria requires to join the league of nations that can boast of providing sustainable energy to their people. To them, achieving the noble objective requires rapid assessment and gap analysis on SE4ALL in Nigeria and the development of country specific strategies and action plans across government ministries and parastatals to support the mainstreaming of energy into the development process.
It was against this backdrop that the Energy Commission of Nigeria in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, recently organised a stakeholders workshop to sensitize and domesticate the Sustainable Energy for All initiative in Nigeria and to review the draft Gap Assessment document on the initiative prepared for the country.
At the workshop, various stakeholders presented their individual programmes, activities and project plans as well as targets geared towards the achievement of the SE4ALL interlinked objectives, with a view to come up with a blue print for the actualization of SE4ALL.
Making the lead presentation, the representative of UNDP, Okon Ekpeyong, an engineer, said that the event was critical to Nigeria as it holds the magic wand that can fast-track the realisation of the Vision 20-2020 dream, through dedicated action plan for the implementation of SE4ALL initiative.
He said that sustainable development in any area in the world centers on the triple Es of environment, energy and economy, which could be achieved if Nigeria could focus on the three objectives of SE4ALL initiative with the right attitude and action plan for its implementation.
‘‘A nexus exists between energy, economic growth and national development. Therefore, in producing and consuming energy for the growth of the national economy, it must be done in a responsible and sustainable manner, a manner that not only meets, the needs of the present but also guarantees the future generations to meet their needs,’’ he added.
He said it was in recognition that access to modern affordable energy services in developing countries is key to the achievement of the MDGs and other development goals, that in December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
Also, he said that it was for the same purpose that the UN Secretary General in September 2011, announced Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which seeks to identify and mobilize action by all stakeholders in support of energy access, energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewable energy.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof. Abubakar Sambo represented by Director, Energy Planning Analysis, ECN, Johnson Ojosu, an engineer, said the workshop was aimed at bringing all sectors of the society ranging from government, private sector and civil society organisations and academia together to support the interlinked objectives of SE4ALL, which is critical to Nigeria’s Vision 20-2020 objective.
Though, Prof. Sambo said the implementation looked global, it has to be done nationally, involving all stakeholders, just as he said that the sensitization and creation of awareness among key economic sectors and actors like the providers of energy services and energy end users at all levels had become crucial.
‘‘Though the SE4ALL initiative looks global, the implementation has to be done nationally, involving all stakeholders. Achieving this objectives requires country specific strategies and action plans across government ministries, departments and agencies to support the mainstreaming of energy into the development process. The Sustainable Energy For All initiative seeks to promote the exploitation of renewable energy and energy efficiency opportunities for increased energy access”, he said
Also contributing, the acting Director of National Centre for Energy Research and Development at University of Nigeria Nsukka, Dr. Paulinus Ugwuoke described the workshop as a huge success that would yield the desired result if action plans are formulated for the implementation of the inputs so far made.
‘‘I thing Nigeria has not done so well in the past because the challenges of poor electricity supply, lack of infrastructure, lack of political will and corruption. However, with the outcome of this gathering, if we begin now to take corrections on the ideas generated, and begin to follow them religiously and shun corruption, Nigeria is bound to do well because we have abundant resources to make this quite attractive and successful,’’ he stated.