By Adesewa Oyinloye
Sponsor of Nigeria’s Climate Change Act (often referred to as the Sam Onuigbo Act) and member representing the South-East on the Governing Board of the North-East Development Commission, Hon. Sam Onuigbo has been unveiled as the Nigerian Patron of Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet).
The unveiling was done during the “Post-COP28: Multi-Stakeholders National Consultative Dialogue” held on Wednesday at Dennis Hotel, Abuja.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, CSDevNet, Professor Ibrahim Choji mni, said that in choosing Hon. Onuigbo, the network considered his enormous contributions to climate action globally and know that he will bring value to the network in their efforts to collaboratively address climate change in Nigeria.
According to him, it is this commitment which has seen Onuigbo recognised as one of the 30 Global Leaders on Climate Change in 2023; one of the five inductees into the National Assembly’s Most Valuable Parliamentarian Hall of Fame Class of 2023; recognised by the House of Representatives as a worthy Ambassador; and champion the call for transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewables.
In his acceptance speech, the former National Assembly member said that his nomination to serve as the Patron of CSDevNet is one of the greatest honours of his life considering the wide reach of the network and its vision.
Onuigbo stated that CSDevNet’s unparalleled efforts at bringing together about 300 organisations which are at the frontiers of championing climate action and sustainable development across all nooks and crannies of Nigeria reflect a well-thought out action plan anchored on the principles of equity and largescale vertical integration of climate action all anchored around eliminating the problem of working in silos.
The global climate leader pointed out that working in silos has been a huge menace to proper and impactful project implementation in Nigeria hence his joy at being found worthy to be part of the vision to eliminate it.
According to him, in drafting Nigeria’s Climate Change Act, addressing the problem of working in silos was predominant in his mind and was one of the reasons for the way the National Council on Climate Change was structured to be inclusive.
Onuigbo used the opportunity to charge civil society organisations to intensify advocacy for the robust implementation of the Climate Change Act from the federal to the subnational level in order to engender complete resilience building and sustainable development of Nigeria. He called for increased ambition and collaboration between state and non-state actors as Nigeria and other African countries aim to update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2025.
CSDevNet is a climate change and sustainable development network with over 300 organisations drawn from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria representing youth bodies, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, media organisations, women, etc. all working together to advocate for “pro-poor, climate-friendly, and equity-based responses to climate change and sustainable development.” The network is “the designated national platform for Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) as well as an accredited organization with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), United Religions Initiative (URI), and works closely with ECOWAS and AfDB including Federal Government of Nigeria