Climate change has had a substantial effect on Nigeria over the past few decades. An increase in temperatures, droughts, a reduction in biodiversity, unpredictable rainfall, etc. are examples of present problems. The floods that wreaked havoc on portions of Nigeria this year are the worst in a decade; more than one million people were left homeless, and 600 people died. In addition to other states, the floods in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Kano, Adamawa, Jigawa, Benue, and Borno submerged homes, important roadways, and farms.
In February 2023, Nigerians will head to the polls to elect leaders at the State and National level. Campaigns have started and debates are ongoing. Unfortunately, climate change issues have taken the back seat in the discourse.
Consequently, the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation in conjunction with 350 Africa and the Activists for Climate Justice coalition launched the #Vote4Climate Campaign in Abuja, Nigeria on the 3rd of November, 2022. The goal of this initiative is to ensure that climate change mitigation and adaptation is a campaign topic ahead of the general election in Nigeria. Unfortunately, although being essential to democracy and growth, climate action has not yet been given priority in the build up to the elections. The elections are a major focal point because they will serve as a medium of affecting and boosting national-level climate change awareness. It is imperative that the candidates at all levels identify climate change as a key campaign issue and outline how their administration will address it.
For the Activists for Climate Justice coalition the first step in determining an aspirant’s commitment to addressing climate change is to review their manifestos. The manifesto is a summary of each candidate’s planned agenda and policy on climate change mitigation.
The coalition highlighted that the #Vote4Climate campaign will mobilize the electorates to scrutinize the climate commitments of all candidates vying for positions at the polls. The vote for climate campaigners are committed to ensuring that their message gets to the most vulnerable communities in Nigeria. For them, the electorates should understand climate change issues and make a choice to #Vote4Climate.
Doosuur-Chisom Ogbonna and Joseph Ibrahim