In his foreword to the Proceedings of the Energy Policy Conference held in 1978, President Olusegun Obasanjo, then the military Head of State, declared as follows: "Energy, in all its ramifi- cations, has finally emerged in our consciousness as a crucial element in this unavoidable industriali sation and socio-economic development process. " When eventually a copy of the first Policy Guidelines on Energy for Nigeria was presented in 1987, it had as its cardinal goal, the achievement of a good mix in the development of Nigeria's energy resources, in an environmentally acceptable manner that would guarantee national self sufficiency and security.
The objectives of the guidelines include the development and maintenance of a regular inventory of the energy resources in Nigeria. It also aims at ensuring continuity and self-sufficiency in energy supply in the short, medium, and long- term, at economically favourable costs.
The guide lines took cognisance of the need to protect the quality of the environment and the population from the hazards of energy exploitation and utilisation. It further aims at improving the nation's technical capabilities in the energy sector for State security, self-reliance and economic competitiveness.
Furthermore, the national policy guidelines aim at providing a co-ordinated framework for the imple- mentation of energy policy issues. To this end, the Energy Commission of Nigeria was set up, in addi- tion to the government-funded centres for energy research at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and at the Obafemi Awolowo University, lle-ife. Several strategies have also been adopted towards achieving the main policy thrust of diversi- fying the economy to guarantee the full development of all available energy resource potentials in the country.
Priority attention has been given to increased utilisation of natural gas for industrial and domestic (household) use. The nation's energy policy also recognises the crucial importance of rural electrification as a means of rapid rural development and protecting the Nigerian nvironment, by bringing an alternative energy source to the grassroots.As noted by the then Secretary of Power and Steel in his 1992 Ministerial Press Briefing.
The present Administration is desirous of leaving behind a
commitment to a policy of integrated rural development as a key to national development. Basic to this is the provision of electric
power in the rural areas; an objective which the Rural
Electrification Programme is designed to achieve.
Finally, regional and international co-operation in energy matters is a deliberate goal of the Nigerian Energy Policy, the primary and immediate focus of which is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is experiencing severe energy crisis.
To alleviate the situation among the countries of ECOWAS, the strategies adopted by Nigeria include coordination of energy planning, research, information and technological exchange on a regional scale; minimising the high cost of energy importation into member States by facilitating the regional distribution of petroleum products; and encouraging the extension of the national grids of neighbouring countries to optimise the utilisation of regional hydroelectricity and other energy potentials.
Nigeria's energy mix and the potentials of the conventional sources of electricity generation and fuel supply have been proven, but have remained largely untapped. Cheap energy supply is the greatest stimulus for industrialisation. Hence, investments, diversification, deregulation and the creation of regional power supply companies are needed to clear energy supply bottlenecks.