By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and the State Chairman All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Henry Ajomale, yesterday, said the country need to strengthen its ties with Russia to revamp the country’s economy especially in power supply.
They spoke at the 2016 Alumni Congress of SOYUZNIC Alumni Association of Nigeria, a body of Nigerian Graduates trained in the former Soviet Union and Commonwealth of Independence States (CIS) in Lagos.
They noted that the nation would need to rely heavily on Russia’s expertise in its quest to diversify the economy.
Ambode said ” Bilateral cooperation between Russia and Nigeria is blessed with huge potential in every avenue. However of special interest and attention is the economy. Specific opportunities abound for cooperation in energy, infrastructure projects, metallurgy and mining.
“The fate of Ajaokuta metallurgy plant built with the assistance of Soviet Union has been widely spoken about . Over a thousand Soviet and three thousand Nigerian specialists worked on the construction of that plant.
“ I would like to state clearly that the Russian company, ‘Tyazhpromexport’, which built the Ajaokuta plant has already declared readiness to join in the process of the plant restoration , to carry out a technical audit and work out plans for resuscitating the steel plant,” he added.
The governor who was represented by his Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Mr. Kehinde Joseph, noted that aluminium production which has remained a burning issue of the day, especially in Akwa Ibom where legal tussle had stopped Alscon plant from functioning, noting that since ownership right is shared by Russian company resolving the issues involved to start operation will help to create more jobs for teeming Nigerians.
“Nuclear energy is another area with good prospects for cooperation. Several years ago, an agreement on the construction power plants in Nigeria was signed. This is a long and complex process, which must be preceded by the creation of the requisite legal and economic frameworks and training of specialists in the sphere of atomic power,” he said.
Also, Ajomale said the theme of the congress which is “Harnessing the potential of Nigeria Graduates of Higher institutions of former USSR States,” is unique , saying it will bring all Soyuznic in Nigeria and Diaspora to the forefront of the country’s for national development.
He added that, “There are a lot of expertise that the Russians had gotten over many years and they have perfected it .They have expertise in virtually everything in the old Soviet Union and in Russia and if we can tap into it, it will be better for Nigeria.”