How to Get Nigeria’s ‘Green New Deal’ – Part 2 | The Guardian Nigeria News



First, in agriculture, Abimbola Ogunwusi, one of Nigeria’s leading forestry experts, argued that the bamboo industry is a good way to generate energy and alternatives to deforestation. The plantations developing this culture offer an alternative to the plundering of forests and oil resources. Kit Ling Chin of Malaysia’s Institute of Rainforests and Forest Products, along with his colleagues, also identifies bamboo as having “great potential for use as feedstock for the production of biofuels”.

They point out that “biogas can be used as a fuel for engines, gas turbines, cells, boilers and industrial heaters, and as a raw material for the manufacture of chemicals”. This cleaner form of energy is needed to promote a “high-income economy”. Like Ogunwusi, Chin and his colleagues identify sawmill residues as an additional source of bioenergy. Dr. Jubril Atanda, a researcher based at the Cyprus International University, explored the use of bamboo as an alternative building material in Nigeria.

He argues that the development of bamboo not only reduces pollution, but can help control erosion by creating water barriers. Second, in the area of ​​alternative energy, a number of individuals and projects illustrate how Nigeria could build a home-grown, solar-powered future. One of the foundations of such an industry is Nigeria’s Economic Sustainability Plan adopted in July 2020. NSEP has supported off-grid renewable energy with $619 million in funding to install new solar panels on cut houses. of the network. This plan was designed to stimulate locally anchored manufacturing (in Nigeria). Nigeria has partnered with foreign suppliers like Lumos, a Netherlands-based company, which sells stand-alone solar installations, allowing residents to install solar panels on their roofs. Foundations like the Global Innovation Fund invest in special projects to help the poor. This included funds to support micro-grids in Africa and off-grid systems in Kenya. The National Council for Technology Incubation is designed to support and develop small businesses, innovation and entrepreneurs across Nigeria. The National Agency for Scientific and Technical Infrastructure, in collaboration with the Sokoto Energy Research Center, also had a project to produce solar panels in Nigeria. The World Bank and the EU have supported electrical modernization, even greening of energy, with funds totaling around 1.65 billion euros.

These “top-down” initiatives must reach local actors and communities at the base of society. An important bridge between these multinational players and local communities is the community-minded entrepreneur. Awele Uwagwu, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, has teamed up with his Nigeria-based partner, Leke Oyefeso, to create a start-up called Idagba, founded in the summer of 2020. This project aims to promote the energy and establish a hub for solar energy throughout Nigeria. Engineers like Emmanuel OB Ogedengbe, a Nigerian involved with Energhx Consulting, have also been involved in various projects that have attempted to develop alternative energy in Nigeria related to solar cells, local vertical axis wind turbines and bioenergy related to food waste, paper sludge or animal waste. Ogedengbe is part of various engineering networks in Canada and has links with Nigerian and Canadian scholars.

Involving these key people is a starting point, but we need to connect these people to networks where we already have community networks and organizational resources. In Taraba State, the Foundation for Peace, Hope and Conflict Management has many contacts who could contribute to the participatory pilot project described here. The Foundation’s work with reconciliation between ethnic and tribal religious groups has created a base of contacts and experiences to advance the transformational project we need. We now explain how we can transform such an activity into a global program of change.

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Building cooperative community innovation networks
The key to change may come from what we call “cooperative community innovation networks”. These networks are a critical mechanism for meeting local needs by accessing national (as in Nigeria’s huge domestic market) or global resources (through partnerships with overseas-based academics, engineers and businesses) . Our proposals relate to what Laura Pereira and her colleagues at the Stockholm Resilience Center call “spaces of transformation”. These “enable and enable dialogue, reflection and reflective learning, while reframing problems in ways that allow solutions – or at the very least, attempts at experimentation and transformation – to be co- created and co-realized”. These spaces “function as springboards for transformations of the socio-ecological system attentive to the specificities of the context in which the space is summoned”. We complement this idea by focusing on how to create hubs to accumulate various forms of media, economic and political power related to design, innovation, production and consumption, in order to create wealth. and social justice. Here are the key elements of the CCIN.

First, a key set of innovators are accessible who have local and foreign capabilities to develop the new product, for example solar energy systems. In some cases, a key gateway to technical knowledge may come from skills exchanges between Nigerian and northern universities or even from a cooperative federation of African engineers promoting alternative energy.

Second, various constituencies related to environmental, labor, business, engineering, religious and academic constituencies and capacities form a working group. The task force is based on the joint cooperative gains that come from creating jobs, reducing carbon footprints and advancing national wealth. This means that over time, foreign knowledge and services supporting innovation are gradually replaced by domestic equivalents.

This kind of “import substitution” process is what has led the Chinese and South Koreans to develop their own high-speed trains using designs and technology originally acquired from foreign suppliers outside their country. The promise of a large domestic market must be leveraged over time to build Nigerian capacity and production. Universities also have diverse capacities to support systemic ecological transformation.

Oluwatunmise Paimo, a Nigerian scholar currently affiliated with Stockholm University who taught at Crescent University in Ogun State, argues that during the Covid-19 crisis, Christians and Muslim societies have largely cooperated in prayer initiatives aimed at ending the ongoing pandemic. She also argues that any change project must involve traditional leaders and worshipers, as they are the main supporters of development projects.

Third, a task force representing various constituencies as well as community organizers and activists must organize and unite local and institutional buyers and consumers who become the end users of alternative energy solutions. The community, linking needs-based interests and local groups, becomes the bridge to the capabilities found in both the market and the state.

The purchasing power of local government, institutional and organized consumers can be used to build businesses without the intermediary intervention of big oil companies, transnational corporations and others that limit the wealth of the community. This purchasing power can be used to develop if not create cooperatives. The Cleveland model in the US and the Preston model in the UK have illustrated how these processes can work very successfully. Other models, such as the former Greater London Enterprise Board and the Dutch Science Shops, illustrate how networks of engineers and academic technical staff can advance various local alternative energy programs. Paimo says local, state and federal governments each need to be involved and can be persuaded if the projects provide benefits to local constituencies.

To be continued tomorrow

Dr. Feldman is Associate Professor at Stockholm University and Reverend Dr. Bature is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Peace, Hope and Conflict Management, Nigeria. ([email protected] [email protected])

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