Bayelsa State deputy governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), yesterday, painted a bleak picture of the future of oil exploration in the country, saying that the era of oil exploration and the nation’s dependence on oil will soon come to an end.
He cited the first oil well in the Niger Delta at Oloibiri, in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, which had since dried up and been abandoned.
The deputy governor said the lesson learnt from the maiden oil well indicated that oil would dry up some day and warned states against over dependence on oil wealth for survival and development plan.
Jonah, at Oloibiri community in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, during an inspection tour of State and Federal Government projects by the Good Governance team, led by the Minister of Information and Orientation, Mr. Labaran Maku, said such anticipated non-oil future had led the current administration in the state to diversify its economy, which, he said, gave birth to Bayelsa Development Investment Corporation.
Among project sites visited, were the Federal University, Otuoke; Federal Housing Estate, Elebele; Opume-Okoroba Road; Diagnostic Centre; Swali Bridge, dualization of Opolo Road; Federal Secretariat and NIPP project, Gbarain.
The site of the dried oil well had been overtaken by weeds, as the proposed Research Institute bankrolled by the Federal Government was still at its foundation stage.
The administration of former President Shehu Shagari had proposed an Oil Museum at Oloibiri, but the project was abandoned.
Jonah said: “The idea is to look for alternative sources of revenue to at least service salaries, even if oil dries up, we can move from there. There are promises that a research institute would be built beside this oil well. That is a Federal Government promise. With this awareness, we will reach those who are concerned.”