The Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike (AEFUNAI), Nigeria has awarded monetary prizes to the top three winners of the just concluded national essay competition on climate change. The candidates whose essays were adjudged to be the best after a thorough review by experts and voting from the audience received N20,000, N15,000 and N10,000 respectively.
Mr. Kelechi Emmanuel Ojengw, Mr. Idris Adekale Adediran and Ms. Ngozi Peace Edum emerged as the three best essayists.
Speaking on the outcome of the essay competition which attracted a high number of qualified entries, the director of the Centre, Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, said that he was impressed to witness such high level of enthusiasm by Nigerian youths with the climate change and the role of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in tackling the challenge. He emphasised that climate change remained a threat to human existence and the young people have a critical role to play in climate actions and decision making to safeguard the planet.
“Congratulations to Emmanuel, Idris, and Ngozi for emerging winners in the first national essay competition on climate change organised by the Center for Climate Change and Development AEFUNAI under my leadership. The competition was keen and vibrant. I am proud to see such high level of enthusiasm by Nigerian youths with climate change and the role of the Nationally Determined Contributions in tackling the challenge,” he said.
Prof. Okereke, while congratulating the candidates, reiterated that the Centre under his leadership would roll out more national competitions to increase public awareness of, and engagement with climate change in Nigeria and Africa more broadly.
“My Centre is planning more national competitions to increase public awareness of, and engagement with climate change in Nigeria and Africa more broadly,” he said.
Announcing the result of the essay competition, the communication officer of the Centre, Mr. Chinedu Nwasum, stated that after a careful review of all the entries by experts in climate change and the review of audience likes and comments, the three top essays emerged.
“We are pleased to announce that after strict, free and fair selection process, the top three essays have emerged,” he stated.
According to Mr Nwasum, the essays were graded based on structure, content and grammatical accuracy and, at the end, essays written by Mr. Kelechi Emmanuel Ojengw, Mr. Idris Adekale Adediran and Ngozi Peace Edum emerged as the three best essayists. He thanked all the participants and audience for being part of the maiden edition of the essay competition.
“To eliminate bias, the essays underwent an internal blind review to award 50% of the total score. The remaining 50% was awarded based on likes, comments and shares,” he said.
Reacting after receiving the prize, Mr. Kelechi Emmanuel Ojenwa, the overall best essayist, thanked the Centre for the opportunity to participate in the essay competition which he described as timely owing to the visible effects of climate change in the country. He pointed out that he was motivated to participate in the competition to proffer solutions to the obvious consequences of climate change in his immediate environment such as food shortage, unemployment in the agro based industry due to the changing weather condition and weather related diseases such as meningitis which has affected the economy of the country.
“One of the basic issues and threats affecting our society today is that of climate change. The statistical distribution of weather patterns has caused untold hardship in the environment and I am concerned because we seem to be doing nothing or very little about it. We are faced with problem of food shortage or scarcity everywhere, unemployment because people have statistically dislodged from their jobs especially agro-based organisation because of the changing weather condition coupled with diseases such as meningitis and pneumonia,” he narrated.
Mr kelechi advocated for deliberate action towards reducing the effects of climate change in Nigeria by the government taking the lead in climate action and mitigations to ensure that we safeguard our environment for the next generation.
Also, Mr. Idris Adekale Adediran, the first runner up, argued in his submission that one of the ways climate change has affected his immediate environment was through flood which, according to him, has affected the social economic development of Osun State leading to loss of lives and businesses as well as mass migration, which he believed that through preventive, predictive and corrective measures the government can mitigate the recurring flood in the area.
Mr. Idris thanked the Centre for the rare privilege to share his views and perspectives on climate change effect in his immediate environment and pledged to make himself a vanguard of climate action in his home state, Osun state.
In addition, the second runner up, Ngozi Edum, also thanked the Centre for using the competition to stimulate and motivate the young people to take action on climate change, stressing that youth involvement in climate actions would accelerate the success of government interventions in this regards.
She narrated how the issues of deforestation and insecurity have contributed adversely to the effects of climate change in the north central part of Nigeria, stating that if nothing is done urgently that the people of north central would be in grave danger as their environment is already unfriendly.
The CCCD AEFUNAI had on August 24, 2020, announced its maiden edition of national essay competition tagged “NDC Challenge” and invited the public to write and submit essays on the “Effects of climate change on my environment and how Nigeria’s NDCs can address it”.
By Chinedu Jude Nwasum