Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; ex-Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday warned Africa of the dangers of climate change.
They spoke at the Sixth Olusegun Agagu Memorial Lecture attended by a former President of Mauritius, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, and a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oye Ibidapo-Obe.
Others, who attended the lecture held in honour of the late former governor of Ondo State, were ex-Ogun State governor, Chief Gbenga Daniel; ex-Minister of External Affairs, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; ex- Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Akin Aduwo; National Vice-Chairman (South-West) of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Eddy Olafeso; Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, Ben Bruce, and Wale Edun.
According to Obasanjo, who addressed the audience via Skype, there is a connection between climate change and farmers-herders clashes in Nigeria.
He said urged the continent to find better ways of consuming energy.
The ex-Head of State said, “We have in Nigeria a situation of the Lake Chad which is a source of livelihood – directly and indirectly – for over one million people. Lake Chad today contains only 10 per cent of the water it had 50 years ago and we cannot but see the nexus between Boko Haram and the bulk of livelihood in communities that depend on Lake Chad for survival.
“There is also a nexus between climate change and clashes between farmers and herders in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. So, for anybody to say that they are not afraid of climate change or that climate change is not real, I see it as a great understatement if not a great disservice to humankind.”
Anyaoku, who was the Chairman on the occasion, said the climate change crisis was one that the world must face head-on, adding that Nigeria was already witnessing population movement caused by climate change.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, said the challenge of climate change was real.
Sanwo-Olu said the problems of population migration were socio-economic and climate change.
Gurib-Fakim bemoaned the indifference to the changes in the environment, stating that “nature is becoming more voracious, the climate crisis is here but the response has been greatly insufficient”.
He added, “We need to educate and empower the youths, and we need action for development. Time is running and timely action is needed to avoid a rise in global temperature.”
The guest speaker said the government needed to invest in education to check population explosion.
While calling for energy conversation policy, Ibidapo-Obe said there was a need for infrastructural updates through insightful research.
Also, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms Amina Mohammed, said curtailed population would put pressure on human index rate, adding that migration should be a choice and not forced.
Anyaoku and Hamzat later during the goodwill messages said Nigeria would profit more if it was governed using the regional system of government as applied in the First Republic.
The former Secretary-General of Commonwealth said it was through the regional system of government that the then Western Region government under Chief Obafemi Awolowo was able to build the first television station in Africa.
“The government under Awolowo was able to prioritise education by investing more. We need to increase budgetary allocation in education and also ensure our youths are engaged in entrepreneurship. We need to prioritize education. Nigeria had just eight per cent budgetary allocation for education whereas Ghana committed a total of 31 per of its total budget to same sector,” he added.
Also, the deputy governor of Lagos State said restructuring the country was the best way out as it would allow every state “to get its advantage. We are doing the wrong thing, until we go back and restructure.”
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