Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet
Bola Tinubu’s “poisoned Holy Communion” metaphor on climate change exposes his ignorance.
By Seyi Clement, a lawyer, is the Convener of Nigeria’s New Vision Group
At the Interactive session of the Northern Elders meeting held in Kaduna on 17th October 2022, in response to the question about how a Bola Tinubu (Emilokan) administration would tackle the issue of climate change, (the presidential candidate of the ruling APC) likened the situation of Nigeria to that of a “church rat” which has no choice but to eat the “poisoned holy communion” due to poverty.
As if the analogy was not embarrassing enough, unperturbed by his ignorance of the subject, he ploughed into greater depth of sciolism when he suggested that Nigerians have no choice but to continue the act of deforestation for firewood. To cap it all, he suggested that the Western world should recompense Nigeria as incentive for Nigerians to discontinue acts which could exacerbate the effect of climate change.
The incredulity of the statement was lost on Tinubu, exposing his ignorance of the subject matter and his entitlement mentality.
In his entitlement psychosis, if you want anything, you must pay. It is like your child asking you to pay him/her to study for his/her exams. In his mind, the Western countries should pay Nigeria to discontinue acts which could exacerbate climate change, which is also affecting Nigeria, if they are so concerned by the phenomena.
He failed to grasp the fact that climate change is devasting Nigeria, just as it is devasting the West, if not more. For example, the recent flooding in Nigeria has cost 600 lives, and displaced 1.7million people— not in London or Paris, but in Nigeria. Obviously, these facts are lost on Tinubu.
In the southern section of Nigeria, a significant proportion of Nigeria is coastal land. The average elevation of our coastal landmass is less than 15m above sea level and just 40m above sea level at the highest points. In many areas, our coastal land and towns are below sea level.
These are areas that studies have shown will be more prone to climate change. We do not have the luxury of coastal defences like the Western countries.
Data and studies from the National Metrological Agency show that on average monthly rainfall during the rainy season, now exceeds 200mm regularly, (typically greater than the infiltration capacity of the soils), which means that effective surface drainage is going to be challenging at the best of times.
We, therefore, face challenges from both rising rivers/sea levels and flash flooding. Everyone in Lagos and Ilaje in Ondo will bear testimony to this phenomenon.
In the northern section of Nigeria, the situation is no better. In 2008, the National Meteorological Agency reported that over the preceding 30 years, the annual rainy season in the north dropped from an average of 150 to 120 days. In the last six decades, over 350,000 sq km of the already arid region turned to desert or desert-like conditions, a phenomenon progressing southward at the rate of 0.6km per year. In Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi,
Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states, estimates suggest that 50-75 per cent of the land area is becoming desert.
These environmental changes have wrecked agriculture and human livelihoods, forcing millions of pastoralists and others to migrate south, in search of productive land, which is partly responsible for the clashes between herders and farmers in the north.
These are challenges facing northern Nigeria and not northern Europe or north America, but still Tinubu’s entitlement approach is saying his administration will not do anything about climate change unless the West pays for it.
February 2023 presidential election is just around the corner. Vote for candidates with capacity to understand the challenges, and the competence to implement policies which address those challenges. Tinubu obviously lacks both capacity and competence to govern this country.