In the build up to Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, four political parties were at the fore front of the electioneering campaigns. A closer look at the campaigns showed a total absence of climate change issues in the conversation around who had the capacity to lead Nigeria. This reality posed serious concerns for climate organisations in the country. Through sheer ingenuity and commitment to a sustainable environment in Nigeria, Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation together with the support of 350 Africa and in partnership with other Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, initiated the Vote for Climate campaign. The vote for climate campaign worked tirelessly for 4 months to educate the electorates on the need to vote for candidates with clear climate action plans. Also, the campaign engaged political parties and their candidates to speak on issues bordering of climate change as presented in their manifestos.
In order to reach numerous people, the campaign adopted two approaches which included a digital approach and on ground actions. Through a strategic and consistent digital action led by 20 CSOs partners, we reached over 9 million people with our message to vote for climate. Our digital actions leveraged on digital platforms such as twitter, facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn as well as a designated webpage (afrikavuka.org) and websitem(Vote4Climate) to promote visual content on the necessity of voting for climate conscious candidates. Additionally, through on ground activities in Abuja, Benue, Nasarawa, Edo, Rivers, Lagos, and Cross River, we reached about 10,000 persons directly.
Our interventions on the ground included press conferences, outreaches to traditional institutions, street walk, community sensitization and outreaches. Also, the campaign reached about 250,000 persons on our media showing which included appearances on BBC Africa, African Independent Television, TVC News, Nigerian Television Authority as well as notably radio stations such as kiss FM and Wazobia FM.
The campaign reached out to communities in Benue State that were affected by the floods in 2022. Sadly, many of the people were thrown into darkness as the flood water damaged the electricity infrastructure in the community. The campaign intervened in this communities by providing solar kit to ameliorate their living condition. The feedback from the community was resoundingly positive and they expressed the commitment to vote for climate in the election.
It is noteworthy that, youths and women were at the forefront of driving this campaign to build the political will for climate action in Nigeria with strategic actions to build relationships with those contesting and the eventual winners of the election.
By Joseph Ibrahim