With the aim of building an environmentally sustainable future, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has challenged young people in Nigeria to spearhead efforts against climate change and support the expansion of the green economy.
Obasanjo who spoke on Monday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during the Presidential Youth Retreat (0.4) organised by the Youth Development Centre, advocated for renewable energy, use of electric cars, organic manure, tree planting among others to reduce the challenge of climate change.
The retreat which attracted youths from across the country was themed “Contribution To Green Economy.”
In his speech, Obasanjo attributed climate change to human activity, claiming that it has caused significant droughts, flooding, deforestation, and pollution, among other things.
“ Climate change is a reality, though some still believe it is a myth or not real but we have seen it in flood, drought, the extreme weather conditions among others.
“The scientists have helped us to understand that man has abused the balance of all that God created, the forest, the hills, valleys, animals among others to the extent that there is now imbalance and it is we that caused the imbalance will also be victims of these consequences like the sea level rising, victims of floods, drought, extreme weather conditions and of course changes in climate, food insecurity among others.
“The Use of fossil fuels is one of the greatest sources of carbon dioxide emissions which contribute greatly to climate change. This is why we talk of clean and renewable energy like the use of wind, solar power and electric cars to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
“We also talk about planting more trees that help to absorb carbon dioxide, the more trees we plant the less of the carbon dioxide that we have. The same thing goes for proper handling of waste generated, waste recycling especially. These are the areas as youth you must take leadership, these are the areas you can make your contribution to the green economy and help reduce drastically the challenge of climate change.”
The elder statesman while stating that no one would assist them, urged young ones to take action in tearing down the obstacles put up by poor leadership.
“And let no one keep deceiving you that youths are the leaders of tomorrow, no, you are the leaders of today but don’t ever think that anybody will help you remove the barrier, those who put the barrier will never remove it because it is not in their interests to remove it.
“So, you have to get together and remove the barrier and go ahead to demonstrate God’s given leadership capacity in you. As long as you continue to accept that you are the leaders of tomorrow, that tomorrow may never come,” Obasanjo said
Dr Bisi Kolapo, Chairperson of YDC-OOPL, reminded the youths in her welcome address that this year’s presidential retreat was focused on developing an environmentally responsible future.
Kolapo stated that as a group of realistic teenagers, they must be the driving force and motivate others to contribute to the green economy.
“Contribution to the green economy can be in many forms, it could be through renewable energy processes, sustainable agriculture, waste management, technology innovation or conservative efforts.
“Seizing the moment as youths, we can drive change and inspire others to do the same. We build a more sustainable future where economic growth and environmental preservation go hand in hand,” she said.