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Top Three Winners of Ekwueme Varsity Centre’s Second Essay Competition Decorated

The Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD), Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike (AE-FUNAI), Ebonyi State, has announced and awarded the top three winners of the just concluded second national essay competition titled “Climate Change and Nigeria’s Economic Development: A letter to my incoming President”.

The candidates, whose essays were adjudged the best after a thorough review and assessment by an independent panel of judges headed by urban planner and environmentalist, Mr. Michael Simire, received N200,000, N150,000 and N100,000 during an award ceremony event held in Abuja on Wednesady, February 15, 2023, and organised by the Centre in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Centre of the University of Abuja.

The winners, Israel Oghenefiro Orere, an undergraduate student of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Lagos, Lagos State; James Afomare Owan, an Engineering graduate; and Promise Okwuchukwu, an undergraduate of Law at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, who emerged first, second and third best winners, respectively, were among the over 200 entries received by the Centre.

Speaking during the hybrid event, the Director, CCCD AE-FUNAI, Prof Chukwumerije Okereke, eulogised the participants in the essay content for submitting quality essays that encouraged him to opt for an event that would show the winners to both national and international audience.

Prof Okereke said that climate change is not just an environmental problem but a national economic development problem. He said the reason for the second national essay competition is to encourage Nigerian youths to be engaged with climate change and also necessary to alert the incoming President on the economic development implications of climate change for Nigeria and the need for urgent action to tackle the challenge.

He said the CCCD-AEFUNAI would continue to do it’s best to encourage the Nigerian youths to get involved in articulating and advancing action on climate change.

The Director General, National Council on Climate Change, Dr. Salisu Dahiru, said Nigeria has made several bold commitments on climate change led by President Muhammadu Buhari. According to Dr. Dahiru, the President desires to see Nigeria play its own role in tackling the menace of climate change.

He said he was delighted to see several young people in the audience, adding that the NCCC is an inclusive institution that desires to accommodate different voices including the youth, women and people of disability in tackling climate change.

The DG called the youth to engage on climate change and to engage with the council to pull all efforts together to ensure that climate change is tackled adequately in Nigeria.

Dahiru, represented by Michael Ivenso, who is the Head of the Directorate of Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation of the National Council on Climate Change Commission, also said that climate change is a national emergency that requires everybody to participate.

He thanked all of the youth present or participating and enjoined Nigerian youths to work together with the council to build effective responses to climate change.

Sponsor of the Climate Change Act, a member representing the Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South in the Federal House of Representatives and former Chairman, House Committee on Climate Change, Sam Onuigbo, said that there is strong interconnection between climate change and economic growth but also that climate change action represents an opportunity to build a prosperous sustainable green economy for the country.

Onuigbo said that the Nigerian youth is already championing a vote for climate change and the youth awareness is necessary to ensure that climate change remains on the agenda of the incoming administration. The lawmaker underscored the need to integrate climate change into the national education curriculum in schools.

Onuigbo, who was represented by Mr. Nnaemeka Oruh,   said that he is looking forward to continuously interacting with students and to tell them more about the role legislation can play in tackling climate change.

Also speaking at the event, Dr. Eugene Itua, who is the CEO of Natural Eco Capital, said that it is important to create awareness at all levels especially among the youths because climate change is also an inter-generational problem, one that affects the old, the young but also something that requires long term thinking.

Dr. Itua said that Nigeria is elaborating the long-term strategy which will inform Nigeria’s long-term development plan that is sustainable. He said it was a privilege to engage and interact with the youth, even as he enjoined the youths’ leaders to look for several opportunities in tackling the climate change such as climate innovation, climate investment and the opportunity to engage in international climate diplomacy.

Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Iniabong Abiola-Awe, said that she was glad to be part of the programme. Dr. Awe said that the youths have always been the target of the Ministry in terms of spreading the importance of action on climate change in the country.

She said that the DCC has already engaged with several youth bodies across the country and expressed the hope that the essay competition would further help to expand the engagement of Nigerian youths with regards to tackling the problem of climate change.

The Director, who was represented by Mr. Jonah Barde, expressed the confidence that the DCC would continue to engage with the youth and partner with them to find solutions to tackle climate change.

On his own part, the national youth leader of the Labour Party, Prince Kennedy Ahanuotu, said that he was thankful to President Muhammadu Buhari for starting to put Nigeria on the global map in terms of climate change action and promised that Mr. Peter Obi, the LP Presidential Candidate, would take all the efforts that already have been done on climate change forward.

He promised that letters written by the youth winners would form part of a youth charter of demand that will be presented to Mr. Peter Obi if he wins.

He enjoined the youth to go home to collect their permanent voters cards and fight for the future of Nigeria.

Prince Kennedy said it is impossible for any country to exist effectively without youth involvement in politics, and called on the youths to take their destinies into their hands to ensure that we find a better Nigeria.

In his welcome speech, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, expressed the readiness of the university management to engage in activities that will promote climate action in all its activities. The V.C noted that the young people play a vital role in ensuring that the effects of climate change is reduced through advocacy and awareness creation as well as engaging their communities in promoting climate action.

The VC, who was represented by the Director, Sustainable Development Centre, University of Abuja, Dr. Sabiu Bariki Sani, stated that his centre would continue to partner with organisations to ensure that Nigerian youths are properly integrated in the fight against the impact of climate change.

Reacting after receiving the prize, Mr. Israel Oghenefiro Orere, the best essayist, thanked the centre for the opportunity to participate in the essay competition which he described as timely owing to the visible effects of climate change in the country and need for the Nigerian youths to be at the fore front of engaging the government in advancing policies that will mitigate the climate change impact in the country.

Mr. Israel said he was overjoyed at the announcement that he was the winner of the essay contest, and humbled by the standing ovation he received.

“It was a rewarding moment for the passion I have for climate change related issues,” he said.

The award event ceremony, which took place at the Events  Hall, ASUU Researchers Chalets, University of Abuja Main Campus, was attended by the Director General National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), Dr. Salisu Dahiru, represented by Mr. Michael Ivenso, the head of directorate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation, NCCC; Mr. Olamide Fabguji, the Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters; the Chief Executive Officer of Natural Eco Capital and the Facilitator, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the regional coordinator, West Africa Capitals Coalition Hub, Dr. Eugene Itua; the Director of Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Environment, Dr. Iniobong Abiola Awe, represented by Mr. Jonah Barde; Samuel Onuigbo, the former chairman House Committee on Climate Change; Prince Kennedy Ahanotu, the National Youth Leader of the Labour Party; Mr. Aboulhamid Tahir Hamid, the CEO Global Environmental and Climate Conservatives Initiatives and the President of African Union Great Green Wall Youth Advisory Board; and Dr. Sabiu Bariki Sani, the Director Sustainable Development Centre, University of Abuja .

Find Below the Respective Essay Written by the winning contestants:

Essay by Israel Oghenefejiro Orere (1st Position)


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Essay by James Afomareowan (2nd Position)


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Essay by Promise C. Okwuchukwu (3rd Position)


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Prof. Chuwumerije Okereke

Ekwueme Varsity Centre Set To Announce Winners Of Second Essay Competition

The Centre for Climate Change Development (CCCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), Ebonyi State, Nigeria, in collaboration with Sustainable Development Centre, University of Abuja, has concluded plans to announce the top three winners of the second essay competition on climate change recently organised by the Centre.

The second essay competition, titled “Climate Change and Nigeria’s Economic Development: A Letter to Mr. Incoming President”, was rolled out in a bid to engage young Nigerians in setting climate change agenda to whoever emerges the President of the country after the 2023 general election and to create massive awareness on climate change effects in the country.

The top three winners will be announced during a hybrid award ceremony event that will take place on Wednesday, February, 15, 2023, at Events Hall, ASUU Researchers Chalets, University of Abuja Main Campus.

Speaking on the forthcoming award event, the Director, Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, stated that he would be delighted to host an award ceremony where national and international audience and experts gather to witness the announcement of the top three winners of the recently organised second essay competition by the Centre.

He observed that the physical award event became necessary due to the quality of essays submitted by all the participants especially the top 10 shortlist and need to give wider publicity to the national and international audience and this, he added, can be achieved through an event organised to display and celebrate the excellent submissions from the contestants and to announce the top three winners to the global audience.

Prof. Okereke also noted that aside from giving the candidates national and international visibility, the hybrid event would serve as a medium for engaging the young people on climate discourse and also set a climate change agenda for the next President of Nigeria.

The event, which will feature a panel session for the youth leaders of the three main political parties, the All Progressive Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)and the Labour Party (LP) to engage the audience on the policies of their parties on climate change issues and what they intend to do if elected, has the Minister for Environment, Mohammed Hassan Abdullahi; the Director General, National Council on Climate Change, Dr. Salishu Dahiru; and the Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Iniobong Abiola-Awe, as special guests of honour, while Dr. Eugene Itua, the CEO ECO Natural Capital, and Sam Onuigbo, former Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Climate Change, as guests of honour.

The top three winners will be decided from a list of 10 shortlisted participants after a rigorous and tedious assessment of over 300 entries by a panel of 10 judges and they will go home with N200,000, N150,000 and N100,000 respectively.

Adenipekun Margaret, Obiorah Victor Chibuzor, Alidor, Jonah Bonaventure, Udu, Ugochi Favour, James Afomare Owan, Kokole John Akpotubebebo, Nwadike Obioha Samuel, Israel Oghenefejiro Orere, and Promise C. Okwuchukwu make of the list of top 10 shortlist.

It will be recalled that CCCD AE-FUNAI had on October 2022 launched its second essay competition entitled “Climate Change and Nigeria’s Economic Development: A Letter to Mr. Incoming President” which is geared towards increasing public awareness of, and youth engagement with climate change issues in Nigeria, and to  set climate change agenda for the incoming government to pursue climate change ambition and action towards achieving 2060 net zero target.

By Chinedu Jude Nwasum, Communications Officer, CCCD AE-FUNAI

Initiative creates scenarios for Nigeria’s future by 2060

With Nigeria is facing several existential challenges, leading Nigerian civil society and international experts have created scenarios that provide a map of possible future events in the country from now up to 2060 covering key sectors such as security, energy transition, agriculture, industrialisation, urban and regional development, education, health, migration, and political participation.

Some of the challenges include unprecedented security threats, declining oil revenue, separatist agitations, large scale youth unemployment, growing crime rates, a wave of migration and brain drain, and severely underfunded health and education systems. At over 200 million now, the country’s population is also expected to reach 400 million by 2050.

Tagged “Which Way Nigeria – Citizen Scenarios to 2060 (CS60)”, the initiative explored the critical uncertainties, key drivers and potential outcomes, relating to the country’s future. Through a combination of advanced scenario creation software and the analyses of local and international experts, it provided a glimpse into some disturbing but very real probabilities for Nigeria’s future.

It was unveiled during a virtual media session on Thursday, January 11, 2023, where the promoters disclosed that CS60 created four possible scenarios for Nigeria in 2060. They are listed to include: Land of Hustle, Green Land, Land of Lost Hope, and Bloodland.

For example, the Green Land scenario projected:

  • Inclusive growth driven by enterprise, community and industrialisation,
  • Successful transition to green energy,
  • Equal access to education,
  • Reliable energy supply,
  • Resistance when powerful groups and individuals worry of losing their privileges,
  • Engagement of citizens is strong, and
  • Rapid urbanisation and high stress on services.

“CS60 is the first citizens scenario in Africa and arguably the clearest picture yet of the ways in which our future may unfold when it reaches 100 years of independence in 2060. These scenarios serve as a blueprint for concerned Nigerians to join the conversation and work towards a better future,” disclosed the promoters, that comprise a coalition of over 40 leading Nigerian and international experts.

They added: “CS60 provides citizens the very rare opportunity to create the future that they want, not what officials and barons dictate. The initiative is also geared to spark the entire country to be the change and live the change to create the Nigeria that is a global player, not the hobbling giant of Africa.

“The scenarios are the first chapter in this initiative, the next task will be loose roadmaps, which CSOs will create, that will serve as the basis for what must be done on the way to 2060 to achieve a just, resilient and sustainable Nigeria. With every citizen’s engagement, a more accountable government is in place, which makes a better future more achievable. What can citizens very practically do to engage their government?”

Prof Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development, AE-FUNAI University and Co-Initiator of CS60, says: “As a climate change researcher, policy advocate and playing an integral role in understanding how Nigeria can transition to a more sustainable economy, these scenarios lay out the stark choices which all 200 million of us will have to face in the coming two generations. I hope that Nigerians take note of the potential futures that we can shape. The challenge is urgent, and we must start immediately.”

Steinar Bryn, seven-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee (Norway): “Functioning democracies must involve their citizens. The private sector and the government often represent the dominant culture in a society. However, citizens represent a society’s variety of cultures. Citizen Scenarios are therefore necessary to modify and expand those developed by the leadership.

“To utilise a society’s full potential, ALL citizens must be mobilised. Inclusive inter-cultural dialog is a prerequisite to create a shared society based on mutual understanding between all citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion. To create one society for all is the dominant challenge today for most societies.”

Richard Dion, Government and Regional Development expert (Germany): “It has been incredibly inspiring to be involved with CS60, which has brought together so many leading figures in Nigeria to try to create long-term change. Most progress has been made, largely through these CSOs. However, the development tasks facing the country are monumental. In that sense, this is not a short-term fix. It has to be owned and implemented over two generations. But let’s be frank – the potential is enormous. It just takes patience and perseverance day in and day out.”

Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, CEO, Spaces for Change: “Effective citizens engagement is central to creating the future we want in Nigeria. It starts by people turning out massively to vote and not selling their votes in the forthcoming presidential elections. There after citizens must be prepared to moblise and engage to hold whatever government that is elected to account.”

Oluseun Onigbinde, Global Director, BudgIT: “All the scenarios suggest that the quality and integrity of the 2023 elections will go a long way in laying the foundation for the future of Nigeria. Therefore, It is vital that Nigerians elect a leader that has impeccable character, not corrupt, can take hard decisions and has the diplomatic skill to unite the country behind a bold vision.”

CS60 is said to be the first citizens scenario in Africa, providing the clearest picture yet of the ways in which Nigeria’s future may unfold when it reaches 100 years of independence in 2060.

Prof. chukwumerije-okereke

Ekwueme Varsity Centre Explores Economic Analysis Of Green Investment Opportunities In Nigeria

Economic and climate experts, policy makers and other stakeholders will meet in a webinar later this week to discuss a report that analysed inclusive green recovery and transition opportunities in Nigeria with a focus on the energy and agricultural sector.

The essence of the economic analysis is to analyse green economic opportunities in the energy and agriculture sectors and provide sound evidence to help make national and selected sub-national governments’ investments more efficient to support green recovery and transition opportunities. The costs and benefits analysed are environmental, health, and employment opportunities from each GR option.

The analysed options in the agricultural sector are as follows:

  • Sustainable rice management (SRM): intermittent aeration of rice paddy fields (~50% of total land area under paddy rice cultivation)
  • Sustainable cattle production (SCP): increase national cattle herd growth rate from current 1.5% growth rate to 3.3% per annum using sustainable/intensive management methods; and
  • Sustainable forest and land management (SFLM): improved natural forest management (~128,528 ha of natural forests).

The analysed options in the energy sectoranalysis are as follows:

  • Off-grid solar home system: providing 5 million off-grid households and SMEs with solar power.
  • Green energy for education: providing off-grid solar power supply to seven federal universities and seven university teaching hospitals across Nigeria.
  • Green energy for health: providing off-grid solar power supply to seven federal university teaching hospitals across Nigeria.
  • Substituting 30 million homes cooking with dirty fuels traditional biomass to LPG; and
  • Moving 7.3 million households currently cooking with traditional biomass to improved cookstoves.

The webinar, entitled “Economic analysis of green investment opportunities in Nigeria”, which is organised by the Centre for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike (AEFUNAI), Ebonyi State, in partnership with World Resources Institute (WRI) Washington DC, will hold on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 4pm West African Time (WAT).

The webinar is an integral part of a project aimed at conducting an economic analysis to identify inclusive green recovery and transition opportunities in Nigeria with a focus on the energy and agricultural sector in support of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s efforts to fulfil its NDC target and drive economic recovery and green growth, commissioned by the World Resources Institute (WRI) as part of the multi-country New Climate Economy (NCE) Project with support from Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by The Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo.

The aim of the webinar is to disseminate the findings of the economic analysis and to increase public awareness of, and stakeholders’ engagement in with the economic analysis, as well as to persuade the Nigerian Government at all levels to adopt the report in their present and future plan.

Speaking on the forthcoming webinar, the Director of Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, said that the webinar would offer a great platform for the sharing of findings from the economic analysis to the larger public, engaging the critical stakeholders and having critical discussion on the findings by experts across the captured sectors.

He pointed out that the webinar would be interesting and educating as some provocative findings from the conducted analysis will be shared and recommendations from the virtual event documented and submitted to relevant government agencies for actions and implementations.

According to Professor Okereke, “The main presentations will draw from “Economic analysis of green investment opportunities in Nigeria”, a commissioned analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI) as part of the multi-country New Climate Economy (NCE) Project with support from Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by the Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike.

The webinar will feature Dr. Robert Onyeneke of the Department of Agriculture, AE-FUNAI; Mr. Chukwuemeka Emenekwe of the Department of Economics and Development Studies, AE-FUNAI; and Dr. Sanjo Faniran, Director, United Nations System Unit, International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Budget and National Planning as panelists, and discussant while Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, Director, CCCD AEFUNAI, is the host and facilitator.

By Chinedu Nwasum

Africa has vast gas reserves – here’s how to stop them adding to climate change

The question of whether Africa should be allowed to exploit its gas reserves, estimated at more than 17.56 trillion cubic meters (620 trillion cubic feet) in 2021, has been much discussed at the latest UN climate change summit, COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Former US vice president Al Gore used his speech at the opening session to urge an end to all fossil fuel investment globally, including in Africa. But Macky Sall, the president of Senegal and chairperson of the African Union, argued at the same event that Africa needs space in Earth’s dwindling carbon budget to use its resources for development.

The gas debate centres on two arguments, either for gas or against it. This is too narrow and fails to consider what development might look like for Africa and other regions that are struggling to grow their economies and address widespread poverty while also taking ambitious climate action. It also neglects the question of what kind of international cooperation might be necessary to make climate-compatible development possible.

Those who argue against expanding fossil gas extraction say that exploiting Africa’s reserves is incompatible with keeping average global temperature rise below 1.5°C, the “safe” limit agreed in Paris in 2015. Renewable energy is now the cheapest way to connect millions of people to power networks in countries where energy poverty is rife, they say.

It has also been suggested that widespread poverty in oil-rich countries such as Nigeria demonstrates how decades of oil and gas exploration have only benefited multinational corporations such as Shell and left few gains for most Africans. Investing in oil and gas now, it’s argued, will leave African countries holding stranded assets as Europe and North America pivot to wind, solar and other renewables.

Those in favour of exploiting Africa’s gas argue that industrialisation – for example, the building of modern transportation systems, hospitals and schools which developed countries enjoy – has relied on burning fossil fuels. Industrialised countries still consume a lot of gas. Germany, for instance, uses the fossil fuel to generate up to 30% of its power.

Natural gas, it is held, could provide enough energy for industrial processes such as steel, cement, paper and pulp manufacturing which renewables such as solar and wind have yet to provide.

A study published in 2021 found that a lack of finance, or the high cost of accessing it, imposes a huge gap between the theoretical and actual cost of generating renewable energy in Africa. And, if African countries are able to diversify their energy portfolio with gas it will, it is argued, increase energy resilience and strengthen the right of African countries to make their own decisions on energy generation, distribution and consumption in a way that they deem appropriate.

Proponents of gas point out that, historically, Africa has contributed the least to climate change, accounting for less than 4% of the total stock of CO₂ in the atmosphere. If the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa tripled its electricity consumption from gas it would only add 1% to global CO₂ emissions. In comparison, the US has released more than 509 gigatonnes of CO₂ since 1850 and is responsible for 25% of the global total.

On this basis, it is argued that developed countries are enacting a renewed form of colonialism – what some might call climate colonialism. This is because countries that developed using fossil fuels and continue to appropriate a disproportionate amount of the remaining carbon space in the atmosphere are seeking to stop Africans from using their abundant reserves of gas to address energy poverty challenges and fast track their development.
Striking a balance

The narrow view of either “no to gas” or “yes to gas” in Africa is largely unhelpful in framing the continent’s climate, energy and development challenges. What Africa urgently needs is a credible plan for oil-dependent economies to avoid the need to transition to gas in the long run. That must include technical and financial support to scale up renewables in all countries, so they can build self-reliant, prosperous economies.

Neither gas nor renewable energy on their own can do much to help Africa when so many countries depend on foreign technology and investment to grow their economies. The crucial question for Africa at COP27 should be: what is the right package of assistance needed to expand modern and affordable energy, develop a competitive advantage in manufacturing renewable technologies and better manage resources in a climate-constrained world?

Many African countries such as Ghana and the Gambia already have ambitious climate targets, but these are conditional on the receipt of international support which is not forthcoming. Despite being an oil-dependent economy, Nigeria has a pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060. The cost of implementing this strategy is valued at US$1.9 trillion (£1.59 trillion). In spite of high-level diplomacy by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria has only managed to receive a promise of a one-off payment of US$3 billion from the World Bank – but when this is supposed to be delivered has not been confirmed.

The US thinktank Climate Policy Initiative has suggested that Africa needs an inflow of about US$277 billion annually to implement the plans contained in each country’s emissions reduction pledge. But the continent currently only receives something in the region of about US$30 billion a year.

Africa could be world-leading in renewable energy generation if provided with the right technology and financial assistance. The continent has big advantages when it comes to renewable energy generation – ranging from solar, hydroelectricity, wind and geothermal energy. The International Energy Agency says Africa has 1% of the world’s total installed solar power capacity, despite the fact that, it has 60% of the world’s most promising areas to generate solar energy.

Calls to cease all gas exploration in Africa that fail to account for where historical responsibility for climate change lies and the need to close the current finance gap are the most audacious kind of climate imperialism. COP27 must unlock trillions of dollars in large-scale renewable energy investments and generate new economic opportunities for Africa – or it will have failed.

Originally Published By The Conversation