President Muhammadu Buhari on September 23, 2019, at the just concluded 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, was asked about the place of the youth in Nigeria’s future.
Buhari, read out an unrelated script as a response, this was at the Climate Action Summit.
As the panel discussion got underway, the moderator asked: “President Buhari, Nigeria has a very young population; perhaps you might highlight what a pathway for a resilient future looks like?”
The Nigerian president then began reading his answer from a prepared speech that detailed Nigeria’s entire policy around climate change.
“Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I share the sentiment expressed by the secretary-general that the world is on the verge of climate catastrophe. Undeniably, climate change is a human-induced phenomenon.
“It is now imperative that we must step up our collective climate action in line with the request of the secretary-general. It is in this regard that I wish to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment to its obligations under the Paris Agreement. The aspirations enshrined in our nationally-determined contributions and ensure resilient future that mainstreams climate risk is our decision making.
“I want to announce that the government of Nigeria will develop a more robust sectorial action plan and expand the scope of our sovereign green bonds in line with our intended upward review of Nigeria’s NDCs [nationally-determined contributions] towards the inclusion of water and waste sectors by 2020.
“We will take concrete steps to harness climate innovative ideas by including youths in decision-making processes as part of our over-all climate governance architecture. We will mobilise Nigerian youths towards planting 25 million trees to enhance Nigeria’s carbon sink.
“In the energy sector, Nigeria is presently diversifying its energy sources from dependence on gas-powered system to hydro, solar, wind, biomass and nuclear sources. Specifically, Nigeria is progressively working to realise 30 per cent energy efficiency and renewable energy mix by 2030. This is envisaged to lead to 179 million tons of carbon dioxide reduction per annum by 2030.
“I should also inform the summit that our government has introduced climate smart agricultural practices to unlock 74 million tons of carbon dioxide per annum, through relevant technologies, advocacy and best practices.
“As you are aware, the Lake Chad Basin, which used to be a region of productivity, food security and wealth for an estimated 40 million citizens living around the Chad Basin, has shrunk significantly from its original size due to climate change.
“We will continue to lead in efforts to have solid partnerships for the ecological restoration and recharge of the Lake. We are confident that this would improve the living conditions of the diverse nationals living in the area, promote inter-state cooperation, strengthen community resilience, as well as assist in addressing the environmental and security crisis that threaten the region, its resources and inhabitants.
“I am glad that the Secretary-General and some of the member states represented in this hall are partnering with us in this endeavour. We thank them for their cooperation and I look forward to deepening our partnership. Thank you very much!”
This resposnse sparked social media furore, with Nigerians largely suspecting the president’s old age may naturally impairing his physical well-being.
They have equally mooted concerns about Buhari’s apparent memory lapses — especially his ability to remember things or give coherent response to questions.
The following examples will suffice to support the assertion of this newspaper that, it is possible president Buhari, may have forgotten about the closure of the border.
In June 2015, after honouring an invitation to take part at the G7 Summit in Germany, Mr Buhari said he had met with ‘President Michelle’ of West Germany. Meanwhile, the president only met Angela Merkel who has been the German chancellor since 2005 — and not then-German President Joachim Gauck.
West Germany ceased to exist since 1990 following its reunification with East Germany at the end of the Cold War.
In 2016, Nigerians were again alarmed by Mr Buhari’s response to a question about his anti-corruption effort. A reporter for German broadcaster, DW, had asked the president about his crackdown on alleged corrupt persons, especially in the wake of Sambo Dasuki’s case. He, however, replied with criticism of multinational oil corporations and their exploitation in the Niger-Delta.
This newspaper calls on president Akufo-Addo, to call his friend and brother and appeal to his better nature to order for the reopening of the border, because it is impacting negatively on the good relationship Nigeria, has enjoyed with Ghana.