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Nigeria Blue Economy, Prof Gunter Pauli And Hon. Oyetola: The Romance And Hype (2)


Earlier this week, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu lent his voice to the criticality of tapping into the nation and indeed, the sub region’s blue economy, stating that it is a new goldmine that holds the key to Africa’s prosperity.

Tinubu who was speaking at the 43rd Annual Council of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) conference On Monday noted that Africa’s Blue Economy presents the continent with untapped opportunities for growth and development.

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Represented by the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, President Tinubu said “We must acknowledge the maritime sector as a central driver for the sustainable development of our nations.”

He however did not say anything about the elaborate plot by his government working vigorously through the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, and who is regarded as one of his most trusted cabinet member to present Prof. Gunter Pauli, a Belgian businessman the juicy contract for the nation’s blue economy. There are reasonable grounds to suspect that Pauli is fronting for some high heeled Nigerians, who have deployed some sort of formidable lobby machine to secure the contract from the back door.

In the interim, the contract discussions appears to be limited to the blue economy policy framework formulation, which agenda from all indication is being guardedly navigated by the minister albeit perfunctorily, haven evidently fallen helplessly to the manipulations of some shrewd insiders; even as he may have much earlier, also fallen cheaply into the hands of Prof. Pauli, as part of the grand plot for the Belgian to secure the contract through crook and hook; utilizing the afore referenced Nigerian conspirators for their collective self interests.

It is instructive that while the blue economy project directly under the implementation of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) with over five years apparent questionable pre-planning and scheming projects, and which has attracted humongous preliminary budgeting and utilization covering some start offs and some other sweet nonsense projects and which has so far been protected under official abracadabra, apparently ahead of the actual job benchmarking.

As Nigeria is wont to write off those earlier wastes through our celebrated permissiveness, there are indications that no sooner Oyetola was appointed minister than Pauli sauntered into the stage; no doubt as a third party planted by proxy, those in our system, to front for them to continue to short change the country and its citizens.

There are evidences that Pauli wrote to Oyetola where he successfully cajoled the politician into falling flat for him, as he unscrupulously manipulated the new minister with his overpriced sustainability expertise and obviously fattened dummy about his essential global marketability.

According to a report by the Guardian newspaper on August 27, 2023, Pauli in a letter to the minister of marine and blue economy assured that Nigeria was on the right path to sustainable blue economy, noting that its creation will unleash a sustainable future and comprehensive approach that seeks to balance the national economic growth, environmental protection and social equity within the marine ecosystem.

The report reads: Founder of the Global Blue Economy Movement, Professor Gunter Pauli, made this assertion in a letter to the Minister of Marine and the Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola. Pauli said with the new ministry and the country’s abundant maritime resources and potential, Nigeria would make giant strides in its Blue Economy journey.

While describing the establishment of the ministry as great news, Professor Pauli said it is important to have a dedicated policy maker in the executive branch to ensure that the opportunities the Blue Economy offers are indeed coming to fruition.

“Over the past years I have assisted numerous governments from Morocco to Argentina, from the islands in the Pacific Ocean to the cities around the Mediterranean with a dedicated strategy to secure implementation of The Blue Economy, both with investments and with education.

“The world is not in need of more analysis, which all too often leads to paralysis. The world needs executives in business and government that can turn opportunities into facts that change statistics.

“We need Ministers of your stature, experience, the personal will and perseverance to put Nigeria on a path of growth using its available resources. We have experience in providing both the short term results with quick actions on the ground, as well as structural shifts in the economy that will secure a considerable increase in growth and wealth, especially in the local communities.”

Barely two weeks after, September 2023 to be precise, Pauli visited Nigeria for a three-day courtesy visit supposedly expected to catalyze discussions on sustainable development, innovation, and economic growth, according to one of its Nigerian promoters, Premium Blue Economy Innovation.

Even though the promoters said the visit will enable Pauli to engage in a series of high-level meetings and interactive sessions with government officials, business leaders, academics, and environmental advocates, it is unclear who and who he engaged, where and or the depth of discussions he had with Nigerian stakeholders during the said visit.

A statement by the aforementioned company reads: ‘‘The primary focus of these discussions will revolve around Nigeria’s sustainability journey, exploring opportunities for green entrepreneurship, renewable energy, circular economy initiatives, and sustainable agriculture practices.

‘‘The highlight of the visit will be a keynote address by Professor Gunter Pauli at Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy where he will share his transformative vision for sustainable development. The event is expected to draw attendees from various sectors, eager to learn from one of the world’s foremost experts in sustainability.”

There is no doubt that the ongoing scheme to hand over the policy development contract of Nigeria’s blue economy to Pauli based on his romance with Oyetola may not only result into another failed economic adventure but would also amount to a major rip off, slow down and perhaps even create a major disruption to the progress of the development of the blue economy.

One can only hope that President Tinubu being mindful of his commitment to the wellbeing of the country, and his eagerness to unplug the national economy, and having regards to his conviction that the blue economy holds the silver lining to the national economic growth, would act decisively and prevail on the minister of marine and blue economy to show greater sense of responsibility in executing the blue economy project by immediately disengaging with the Pauli-Oyetola talk. The minister It will also be very reassuring if President Tinubu can direct for the immediate review of the job process the Belgian and his backers and proxies in Nigeria are currently pushing.

The first step would be to completely excuse Pauli from carrying on with his present lobby and secondly, to institute a transparent implementation process, ostensibly through a public bid for the said policy development contract of the blue economy; which must recognize local participation.

Nigerians are confident that President Tinubu will not be party to the regime of past era where undertakers and certain privileged individuals and elite groups are allowed to partition the national economy amongst themselves and their families and cronies.

The story of Pauli and those apparently behind his audacious push to corner a vital component of the national economy will remain a slap on our collective wellbeing, and with great repercussion for our dignity since going ahead with the process will question our sense of duty, especially at the leadership level, if allowed to go unchallenged and corrected.

This government have a duty to understudy how other regional governments and indeed, other maritime nations are implementing their blue economy with every sense of engagement and patriotism, accountability and unwavering high sense of national ethos.

Nigerian cannot continue to grandstand amid barefaced executive rascality while plunging the citizens into ending misery; administration after administration. Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya and even Uganda will not throw its doors open to one Gunter Pauli to be the one to develop its blue economy policy based on some dubious and wishy-washy claims.

Until our indigenous industry stakeholders show clearly through sufficient engagements that they lack the required competence, trust and dependability to provide the needed policy formulation for the blue economy, it will be preposterous, utterly rude and arrogant to say the least, to cede this important economic lifeline to foreigners and their unscrupulous backers back home.


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