Osinbajo, Abayomi, UK say “YES!” to Green Nigeria—-The Dawn Project in its quest to raise awareness about the role of every individual in Nigeria in the fight for a safer and healthier environment, hosted a hybrid webinar to present winners of their poetry competition and also celebrate the 2020 World Environmental Health Day in Lagos recently.
The webinar, which was attended by over a thousand participants, was also graced by the wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, Her Excellency; Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo; the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi; The British High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn Jones OBE, among others. The event was aptly tagged “A Plea for ‘Green’ Nigeria. Does Anyone care?”
The wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo started her speech with a litany of beautiful green aspects of the dynamic rich culture of the Nigerian heritage evoking emotions with the refrain “Yes! We care!”. She further charged all participants with three R’s that she considers a useful guide in her own personal journey as an environment enthusiast – Restore, Repair and Redirect. :…REPAIR what is broken; RESTORE by tree planting, information dissemination and enlightenment; and REDIRECT by sharing knowledge and best practices on how to maintain our good and green Nigeria.”, she said.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn Jones OBE, who spoke on Climate Equity, echoed the question posed by the organisers, “A plea for a “Green” Nigeria, Does anyone care?” to which he said, “Yes! We care! We care intensely about the future of our planet and indeed about climate change. When it comes to climate equity, we take so seriously the importance of working with countries like Nigeria and developing economies to assist in making the transition to low carbon, green environment”. UK plans to double its commitment to spend at least 5.8 billion pounds on tackling climate change by 2021. Nigeria and other countries in the developing world must not be left to tackle Carbon Emission that they didn’t create – “that is climate equity”, he said.
Prof Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner in his presentation, detailed the One-Health Agenda of Lagos State which is based on WHO philosophy that considers human health from a holistic approach that recognizes health and environment as linked to each other. He revealed that the emergence of diseases like Ebola, LASA fever, and coronavirus in recent times may be traced to environmental degradation. “The human health is totally dependent on the environment. …the water, biodiversity, depletion of natural air, desertification, land degradation, and of course the ubiquitous climate change. We are only as healthy as our environment” He said.
The Poet and Writer of the Poem – A Plea, Dr. Pamela, reiterated that the Dawn Project was founded by a group of collaborators who saw the need to raise awareness about the environment and issues concerning the environment. “we decided to host a poetry competition around a poem, ‘A Plea’ that I wrote in 2005 and we asked participants to give the poem their personal interpretations and also recommend solutions to the environmental problems.
But despite getting about one thousand, six hundred and forty three submission, The Dawn Project realised that more needed to be done. “We should actually all be panicking because the world stands on the verge of an existential crisis; one that could consume us all and send mankind into extinction. There is so much in terms of damage that humanity has done to the planet”. Dr. Pamela hopes that participants will rise up from the Webinar “A Plea for ‘Green’ Nigeria; Does Anyone Care?” and look for ways to personally implement solutions that will change the world positively.
Winners of the Poetry competition include Ada Udeh, Satomi James, and Daniel Eta won in the 7-14 years category. Favour Ajileye, Baki Adams, and Adams Olajumoke, won in the 15-18 category.
The Dawn also announced the “Naija Tree for Life” campaign which is targeted specifically at promoting a culture of tree planting by providing enthusiasts in Lagos and its environs with free tree saplings for planting as an immediate solution to combating carbon emission.