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It has become imperative to reduce the over-dependence on oil and write a new chapter in the history of resource governance in Nigeria with special emphasis on diversification of revenue sources, employment creation and expansion of economic opportunities. This was the submission of Dr Olukayode Fayemi, Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, while speaking at the 5TH Annual lecture of the School of Management Technology (SMAT), Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA).
Dr Fayemi who spoke on “Mineral Resource Management for National Cohesion and Development” said two factors have converged to make radical change in our paradigm of resource management absolutely imperative. The first being the increasingly diminishing values of oil in the global economy while the second factor is the need to follow the new trends in the global hydrocarbon economy.He said that the discovery of oil wealth in Nigeria brought with it an illusion of an infinitely abundant resource and with this also came a culture of fiscal irresponsibility, official extravagance and outright theft. He pointed out that the most telling manifestation of this criminal mismanagement of our natural wealth can be found in the Niger Delta where decades of oil exploration have resulted in a legacy of ecological degradation, trans generational poverty and violence.
Fayemi disclosed that the presence of natural resources in and of itself cannot and does not make a nation great. According to him, it simply represents the potential for greatness. He said “the more the quantum of natural resources available, the greater the nation’s potential can be said to be. The critical difference between resource rich performers and resource rich under performers is simply resource management. And effective resource management is the purview of competent elites and capable governments”.
Fayemi disclosed that Nigeria’s tragic odyssey as oil and gas rich nation is a cautionary tale in the annals of resource governance. He said far from being a means of cementing national cohesion, oil riches became a source of discord and a toxic bone of contention in our politics so that it has been said that oil has been a curse rather than a blessing.
The minister warned that it was pertinent to undo the mistakes of the past and be guided by the lessons learned at great costs in the oil and gas sector. His words “ if indeed a curse of oil has been afflicting us, then we must usher in a new regime of ethical, transparent and productive natural resource governance in the solid mineral sector as an opportunity to undo that curse for good”.
Fayemi, a former Governor of Ekiti State, said the Buhari administration is charting a new course for the country. “While we are committed to free enterprise and maintaining a liberal business environment, we are also intent on seeing to it that the new resource economy results in a win-win situation for all stakeholders. This is why we intend to see to it that host communities are directly and positively impacted by the activities that will be undertaken in their domains,” the Minister said
Dr Fayemi stated that instructed by the lessons of the oil era, there are four themes that must be taken into consideration in the country’s quest for resource management and they revolve around issues of transparency, accountability, participation and jurisdiction.
In a good will message the executive Governor of Ondo state, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu represented by the secretary to the state government Honourable Ifedayo Abegunde said appropriate utilization of resources has a propensity to increase productivity capable of igniting industrial revolution and attendant economic growth. He said Ondo state is naturally and richly blessed with immense and economically viable mineral deposits such as oil and gas, limestone, coal, granite, iron ore, kaolin, and bitumen which is one of the largest in the world. Governor Akeredolu also added that most of the mineral resources are available in all the 18 local government areas of the state. He said exploration of minerals was low in all the geo political zones in Nigeria and pointed out that diversification of the economy was imminent in the face of dwindling oil fortunes.He commended the School for putting up the lecture adding that he was proud to associate with the school and wished FUTA well in all its future endeavours.
In his address at the occasion, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, said the theme of this year’s annual lecture seeks to advance the cause of managing the country’s mineral resources for national development in the prevailing economic realities. He said that it was apt for the country to come up with strategies of diversifying the economy and cut the dependence on crude oil adding that Nigeria has the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world thus this among many other minerals that abound in the country should be explored to the advantage of the country
Fuwape also gave kudos to the Dean of the school for sustaining the tradition on annual lectures in the school and for his loyalty and commitment to the cause of the university. The Vice Chancellor also saluted the entire staff and students of for their support, dedication and selfless service.
Dean of the School of Management Technology , Professor Tomola Marshall said the lecture is intended to, provide opportunity for members of the academic community and the general public to interact on the pivotal roles of management in national development and to reward individuals and corporate organizations who have demonstrated leadership and managerial competencies and capabilities necessary to enhance economic and technological growth of the country, with positive influence on the wellbeing of Nigerians.
High point of the occasion included the presentation of Awards of Excellence to the Honourable Minister Of Mines And Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Oba Alayeluwa Dr Francis Adefarakanmi Agbede, The Olowa Of Igbara- Oke Kingdom, Professor Zacheus Opafuso, a former Dean, School Of Management Technology, and Professor Enobong Okoko also a former Dean of the School.

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