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Nigeria Must Show Leadership in Global Energy Politics, Says Former Ghana President Mahama

Ghana’s former President Mahama has emphasised the need for stronger economic and technical ties between Ghana and Nigeria.

A former President of the Republic of Ghana, John Mahama, on Thursday admonished Nigeria to show strong leadership capacity in the global energy politics, as other West African countries are looking up to the world’s most populous black nation.

Calling for stronger economic and technical ties between Ghana and Nigeria, Mahama also noted that the West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCo) presents an excellent opportunity for energy integration in West Africa.

He made this known while speaking at the Inaugural Dele Momodu Leadership Lecture, themed: ‘The Politics of Energy and The Way Forward’, held  in Lagos. It also doubled as the 64th birthday celebration of the Ovation Magazine Publisher.

“As we may be aware, the African continent is home to about 17.8 per cent of the world’s population and we have about 600 million of these people without access to electricity with a staggering 98 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa and another 940 million people lacking access to clean cooking fuels and technologies.

“This calls for bold and decisive policies by continental leaders and pulling resources together to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 7 which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.

“World energy politics and the role of Nigeria by its size and economic power alone, Nigeria can be described as a natural continental economic leader and powerhouse in Africa.

“With the loopholes specifically at the country’s economic resources such as oil, gas, and other minerals, Nigeria has the unique opportunity to achieve energy security and sufficiency for itself and indeed the entire West Africa sub-region.

“Today our world is at the crossroads of what has become an energy trilemma that is sustainability, energy security and affordability. Already, many Western countries have adopted renewable energy primarily because of the factor of climate change and partly due to global political tension.

“As a result, most sub-Saharan African countries are at a high risk of having stranded assets and petroleum reserves. Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa must address the question of which energy path we tend to adopt; full-scale transition by capping our oil and gas wells or customised energy transition that prioritises climate justice, wealth creation and inclusiveness?

“This is a critical question we need to answer and sub-Saharan Africa, especially West Africa, is looking up to our big brother Nigeria to make this decision. This is the moment Nigeria must show leadership in the global politics of energy,” he said.

According to him, the future of sub-Saharan African development greatly depends on the success story of Nigeria’s energy sector,  calling on the country to lead the politics of energy resources in Africa.

“On this note, there is a need for Ghana and Nigeria to deepen our economic and technical operation in harnessing and developing our energy resource potential for energy security and reliability as a catalyst for industrialisation, job creation and equitable wealth distribution for the entire West African sub-region.

“The establishment of WAPCo presents an excellent opportunity for energy integration in West Africa. Ghana has already constructed a high-voltage electricity transmission network that connects Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire so it makes it possible for us to evacuate excess power into the grid for export to any of these countries.

“The critical step left is the synchronisation of the entire West African power co-interconnected transmission system which includes a link with the Nigerian system and a connection to Niger and the northern part of Togo and Benin.

“This will be a great opportunity for ECOWAS countries, especially Nigeria because the country has the potential to have excess power they can put into the West African power company for use by other countries that have deficits,” he added.

The former Ghanaian leader said Nigeria with vast and available generation, has capacity to thrive in the regional electricity market will be an advantage for the sub-region.

With rich historical ties, he argued that the two countries must lead the process of realising a fully liberalised and interconnected energy market in West Africa to which energy sources especially gas and electricity can be easily traded.

“Finally, the energy sector is the foundation for economic growth; Nigeria must take the leadership mantle to build the regional consensus that will provide a more promising future for Africa.

“African leaders must define their energy transmission modalities and choose the most equitable transmission. Nigeria has all it takes to lead the path for sub-Sahara Africa to advance our collective energy agenda by engaging its neighbours such as Ghana to achieve the delivery of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for the whole sub-region,” he said.

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