Nigeria’s Vice President says African leaders prioritise development

Timothy Choji, Abuja

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says African leaders would give priority to urgent matters of development including the use of fossil fuels and coal to generate power.

He says leaders on the continent would also give attention to important issues concerning Climate Change.

Professor Osinbajo disclosed this on Tuesday at the ongoing African Development Bank AfDB Annual General Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, where he and other African leaders spoke at the High Level Roundtable on the theme: Energy and Climate Change.”

“For us, priority today is advancement and we have to take development seriously. For instance, the fact that 45% of those who don’t have access to power in the world are from Africa and almost half of that African share are in Nigeria. We are therefore faced with a very dire situation and in most of Africa we simply don’t have power and without power there is very little that can be done,” he stated.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President indicated that Professor Osinbajo restated the importance of renewable energy, saying “we think that renewable energy and all of the concern about Climate Change are important, but we must prioritize development.”

He said Nigeria as an example is one of the major hydro-carbon enriched countries, and that makes fossil fuels important, emphasizing that the country has to leverage all that it can get from fossil fuel and coal which are all important.

Technological Support
Professor Osinbajo however explained that the arguments about renewable energy are well-noted and Nigeria has the capacity for, and is going to tap into solar energy.

He said one of the things African leaders are asking from the developed countries, is the technology to make clean coal.

“We think that we must use our fossil fuel to the maximum, we must use our coal to the maximum, and we simply call on the support of the developed nations that are aggressive about reducing emissions, especially in coal power plants to give us the technology that is required because obviously there is available technology to make coal clean and we simply call upon them to give us that technology,” he said.

The Vice President lamented that while Africa is the least contributor to global emissions, yet the continent is also the hardest hit by the whole consequences of climate change, that is the paradox.

“But that paradox becomes jeopardy when we are being asked to take the greater burden of resolving the problem of climate change, so we really need the help of the west in particular,” he pleaded.

Other speakers at the roundtable panel were the Presidents of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, and Chad, Idriss Deby, who is also the current Chairman of the African Union.

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Prime Ministers and senior ministers from several other African countries were also in attendance at the opening of the meeting, where the President of the AfDB, Nigeria’s Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina observed that the presence of several African leaders was an expression of their support for the bank.

Confidence O.