Experts Issues

A Tale of Two Economies: Why Nigeria Must Become More Ocean-Centric

 By Ubong Essien, CSP (Nigeria’s Mister Motivator)

Most of us are probably familiar with Shakespeare’s Tale of Two cities and you would permit my parody of the great luminary’s classic in my reflection of the sad narrative that has become the lot of Nigeria, hence my reflection of ours as a tale of Two Economies.

The first economy is what I call the ‘Crude Economy’. The crude oil economy that we have as a nation, thrived on, survived and lived on since pre-independence. Perhaps for good or bad, it has become the core defining excerpt of how we have managed our existence as a nation. While the second economy, is the renowned Blue Economy hidden deep within our oceans.

Crude isn’t safe anymore, we must sail. Blue is the new crude. And it’s only a matter of time for the political class to come painfully to this realization that oil may never again crack the $100/barrel barrier. We must look elsewhere and to look elsewhere we must sail; we must navigate the endless frontiers of the blue domain to rejig our economic prospects and prosperity through the age-old riches from trade. For whosoever controls the seas controls the riches of the world. Blue is the new crude.

Unfolding before Nigeria today, is the narrative of a tale of two economies – The Crude Economy which we have lived in for over 6 decades and the Blue Economy awaiting our seriousness. The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the ship owners, seafarers and a ton of other relevant stakeholders and players still have a lot more to do.

For the record, I am not an economist but a conceptualist and a motivationalist.  I trade in ideas by imaginative extrapolations from my progressive observation of concrete phenomena. I just ask questions in a bid to proffer possibilities.

For instance, I have had to ask why the oil sector would gulp a $5b investment only to produce a measly 1,000 jobs for an economy in need of millions more while some other non-descript sector would require just a fraction of the same amount and produce employment opportunities for tens of thousands.

Yet we continue to bet on the former while paradoxically continuing the lamentation over our national unemployment rate of almost 30% and overall underperforming national economy.

This should challenge us to think broader towards the oceans, indeed our oceans for a more sustainable way out of our economic predicament. 

Mister Motivator in the Maritime Domain Series

“Mister Motivator’s capacity and competence to inspire and challenge maritime professionals will always be crucial to delivering maximum performance within the nation’s maritime cum shipping domain. His speeches can indeed help shape our attitude towards our maritime assets”.

– Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)

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