The rains went away so quickly and appear to be coming back late, according to the weather forecast. Vegetations are disappearing in so many places particularly in many parts of Northern Nigeria reducing the number of grazing fields available and creating more migration of human beings and animals. The industry of animal husbandry which is a good part of the Nation’s GDP particularly the informal sector of the economy will suffer a huge decline in the coming years if the climate continues to change. The frequently scattered bushfire that is taking place everywhere is not helping and the usual fire brigade approach towards adaptation to climate change in Nigeria may be completely overwhelmed.
I saw this coming and in my article in this column some months ago after the Glasgow Climate Pack at COP26 summit, I wrote as follows, “One major difference between the past few decades and now is that the climate change sceptics have gone into hiding. The science of climate change is no longer up for debate. It is a shame that it took many natural disasters, famine and more to win over those in denial as there is now a very small window left to repair the damage that has been inflicted by the bogus science parroted by climate change sceptics. Sceptics who needed to experience the war that is starting due to climate migration, bush fires, floods, desertification, gully erosion, the tsunami, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides and the activation of decade-old dormant volcanoes to become believers.”
Nigeria’s climate has been changing, this is noticeable in increases in temperature; drought and desertification; land degradation; more frequent extreme weather events; affecting freshwater resources and loss of biodiversity.
If the rains don’t come early enough, we must begin now to plan for a good population of Nigerians that depend on rainwater for the replenishment of their wells and boreholes. Plans for the drought that would follow as a result of severe climate changes; there will also be famine and food insecurity. Apart from the temperature rise that has given us climate change, there is also the temperature rise in our political structures leading on to 2023. All these will make the governance of the country very difficult.
The combination of the two phenomena, may not go well for the nation if not carefully curtailed especially now with so many unsettled crises that have been with us for so many years. Crises like the increasing cost of living in a country where majority of its citizens still lives below the poverty line, to the one in the North East with Boko Haram and spreading to Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Borno – where a majority of strikes has occurred, Kano and other states followed by banditry and kidnapping all through the middle belt making road travel dangerous and traumatic. The IPOB issue which affects the entire South-East and the South-south and focuses on the problem with resource control has copycats everywhere by hoodlums who are also taking advantage of the stalemate. The law enforcement agencies particularly the police that is supposed to be protecting the people have condoned themselves away from the public and giving protection to those that can afford them by barricading their stations and barracks away from the public. I hope as always, all the misadventure will stop before the real campaign and then have a change that would bring us a government of the people, for the people and by the people.
The culture of the Nigerian political structure that I knew, saw Alhaji Aminu Kano hold one of his biggest rallies in Lagos despite being in opposition almost all his life. Chief Obafemi Awolowo also drew a big crowd in Maiduguri despite being a Yoruba man and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Igbo man from the East not only was at home in Ibadan but also won most seats in the Western house of assembly. That was one Nigeria where a hopeless and underprivileged man can get justice when injustice is meted out on them. That was Nigeria where Nigerians’ lives in the diaspora mattered to the government. That was Nigeria where citizens were more important than money. That was the Nigeria that worked for everybody and not a few, that was the Nigeria that gave so much hope to the ordinary people and not bags of rice. That was Nigeria that relied on consultations to know and appreciate who their leaders were, not through billboards and fliers. And that was the Nigeria that brought the people closer to their representatives.
It was also the same country where rallies were organized and structured giving the people a festival worthy of wooing their votes without the token 1000-naira notes. Now, voters do not know their representatives and the representatives are not able to reach the people because movement by roads, the riverine areas, the deserts and the lands have become not only dangerous but treacherous. The people have lost hope trying to make their leaders hear or see through their pains. They are living through fate and believing in a change that is promised them while those unable to wait or with the capacity to are absconding to other countries for greener pastures. The temperature rise in climate and politics in Nigeria will affect both the privileged, the underprivileged and the no- privileged people.
As the the war between Russia and Ukraine rages on with all the bombs and missiles setting off – and possibly nuclear one day – exploding every day, the whole climate crisis will make nonsense of the little mitigation that was contemplated and agreed on following the Paris and Scotland accord.
For the sake of survival, we have little choice but to fix all these before 2023;fix both the rise in our political and environmental temperature.