By Gbolagade Sode
As Nissan Leaf and BMW cars (electric vehicles) made their debut on South African roads, it is not a false claim to say that South Africa has joined the league of fast-paced, forward-looking countries that have embraced green vehicle revolution.
The march towards ‘the green’ is a victory for the people, who have been clamouring for the rescue of the universe from the plant-withering and life- suffocating Green House gases. It should be stressed that Green House gases are lethal to the floral and fauna alike.
The running of electric cars on South African roads has catapulted the continent (Africa) to the realm where the battle for a return to mother nature is being fought by other continents to make the world more conducive to healthier living by human beings. In Nigeria, carbon monoxide, emitted by electricity-generating engines, has claimed tens of thousands, if not millions of lives.
Fume(s) pumped into the atmosphere by petrol and diesel-powered vehicles is, howeve, the biggest offender of global warming and pollution that could half the life-span (expectance) of people. Besides heating up the world and precipitating intense thawing of the ozone layer, with its attendant flooding of the world coastal areas, the floods yearly sweep away many people to their early graves and destroy trillion of dollar property and farm produce.
Besides motor vehicles, industry is another major culprit of global warming. Most countries in Europe and the United States (US) were earlier reluctant to reduce the number of fossil oil-powered factories and industries that churn out millions of goods and commodities of different sizes and hues. The industries, no doubt, ensure that those countries’ Gross National Products (GNP) are not only sustained also raised. A person needs not be an economist to know that industries are the props on which employment is provided for the industrialised countries’ citizenry. No wonder the industrialised nations earlier regarded reduction of the Green House gases in that atmosphere as a signal for retrogression and retardation, which to them was uncalled for.
This does not mean that the West is ignorant of the devastation that global warming could wreak on the world, which indefensible stubbornness could worsen with a price which may be too big to pay. Perhaps, that was what fired the renewal of faith in the Paris Treaty that insisted on reduction of the Green House gases a compulsion before 2030.
Nigeria as many other African countries has given her consent to banning of petro and diesel-powered vehicles in the next 10 years. President Muhammadu Buhari, earlier this year, signed the treaty. To show the world’s seriousness and readiness to combatant the menace of global warming, many countries such as Britain, France, United States, India, Belgium, among others, have indicated their willingness to not only ban sales of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles, but also prohibit their production.
The green vehicle revolution would undoubtedly restore the world greenness that will result in longetivity of life. It is, however, not free. There is a price to pay. Nigeria, unfortunately, is among the countries that may suffer loss of revenue as the world embrace electric vehicles.
Undoubtedly, replacement of petrol-driven vehicles with those driven by electricity would compulsorily reduce demand for Fossil oil. Nigeria’s major trading partners and oil importers such as India, Britain and the US have started their phasing out policy of petro and diesel-power vehicles, which is not a good news to Nigeria and the South-South zone of the country. Petrol-dollar rain and foreign currencies earning will inevitably fall. Nigeria would be forced to intensify exploitation of natural gas to supplement or totally replace earnings from crude oil.
This change of fortune for petroleum appears to have cast a sombre mood on Nigeria and her people. The strinking of foreign exchange earning would have a deep impact on the Gross National Product (GNP). Tax revenue for government will reduce and the disposable income in people’s pockets will not be unaffected either.
In this looming seemingly dark atmosphere, there appears a light at the end of the tunnel. Electric (cars) vehicles use batteries (rechargeable). The major raw materials for the production of the batteries are solid minerals that are beneath, buried in the ground of the country. What a merciful God. Graphite, cobalt and lithium are raw materials for the production of electric vehicles batteries. Large deposits of the minerals are found in Kaduna and Nasarawa States. As revenue from crude oil is about dwindling and may later vanish into the thin air, exploitation of graphite, cobalt and lithium would, undoubtedly earn foreign currencies and pump up volume of foreign exchange in the national treasury.
The significant feature of this development is that solid minerals are about to take a pre-eminent place in the economic features of the country. Thus relegating crude oil’s eminence to the background. That is 10 years away! You say. Yes. It is, however, dangerous to be complacent because a decade in the life of a nation is like a day in man’s life. Green vehicle revolution is already knocking at the door, Impatiently waiting to be given a warm welcome.
The sites of the solid minerals exploitation would attract a large work force with attendant explosion of related economic activities that could trigger development of town and trade t near the sites that would soon become centres of attraction. Green vehicle revolution would largely reduce agitation in the South-South to a tolerable level. The zone still is rich in gas.
As diversification is a major economic policy thrust of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, solid minerals have become an open sesame to replace imminent loss of foreign exchange earning that would have been unleashed on the country by the green vehicle revolution. Nigerians, let’s go Green.