Climate Governance and Lagos Elections
Image Source: The Daily Post
Lagos is the city of business, pleasure, and traffic. Nigeria’s center of excellence, also known as Nigeria’s economic heartbeat. The biggest metropolitan area in Africa. With a growing population of over 15 million, this coastal city might be a sunken city by 2050.
Lagos prides itself as a mega city primarily because of its location. One of the major seaports in the country is situated in this city due to its strategic location. Lagos is bordered by a tributary of the Atlantic Ocean and this makes its location best for importation. Lagos contributes about 10% of Nigeria’s total GDP. Its integral role in Nigeria’s sustainable development makes it a top concern in climate change.
This is why the role of climate governance has been brought to the forefront by Clean Technology Hub during the Lagos Governorship Debate organized by The Electoral college and other civil society organizations.
Clean Technology Hub signed a memorandum of understanding in 2022 with The Electoral College. The terms of the agreement involve teaching climate change and governance to students of the Electoral college and bringing forward questions on climate change to Presidential and state-level debates organized by the electoral college.
The Lagos floods and Climate Governance
Climate governance is the way consultations and response measures are aimed at moving social systems towards preventing, mitigating, or adapting risks posed by climate change.
At the governorship debate organized for the Lagos State gubernatorial candidates, Clean Technology Hub’s question that was submitted and asked is:
“In Lagos State, sea level rise has resulted in significant ocean surges and increase in the intensity of flooding episodes across major cities in the state, making it one of Nigeria’s most vulnerable states to the effects of flooding. How do you plan to tackle the issue of flooding?”.
The candidate of the SDP, Taofeek Olakunle Lukman noted how the impact of the development of the Eko Atlantic City have put pressure on other coastal areas and poor urban development on waterways has contributed to the floods. He plans to work with the State’s ministry of physical planning and relevant stakeholders to address the issue of the floods. Just like the SDP candidate, the candidate of NRM, Akinwunmi Ishola Braithwaite agreed that some of the causes of the floods are man-made. He plans to tackle waste management problems and implement strict urban development laws.
The People Democratic Party’s candidate, Abdul-azeez Olajide Adediran, plans to construct more canals to store the excess water and engage environmental CSOs to proffer lasting solutions to the floods in Lagos. Candidate of LP, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, plans to implement the wetland protection policy to manage their natural water reservoirs and make Lagos a major contributor to the circular economy to help manage its wastes. The candidate of ADC, Funso Doherty, plans to effect proper mitigation strategies against floods in the state.
The Need to Act Now
Rising sea levels are one of the effects of climate change impacting Lagos. The low-lying coastal city has suffered annual floods in recent years during the rainy season. Cars and houses submerged in water, fatal drownings, and residents turning roads into rivers are regular sights during the rainy season. Loss of lives and destruction worth millions of Naira are what is left after the floods go away.
Residents are used to the yearly floods that ravage the city between March — November, and with little action from the state government to mitigate the floods, it is business as usual. Unfortunately, Lagos cannot afford to do business as usual as it is estimated that low-lying coastal cities like Lagos may be underwater by the year 2100. This is because global sea levels have been predicted to rise more than 6 feet by the end of the century.
The Role CTH Plays
CTH collaborates with government institutions and private institutions, as well as the partnership with the electoral college. These collaborations and partnerships brings the much-needed awareness and domestication of issues around climate change to potential political office holders who when elected, will be tasked with making and implementing climate change laws.
CTH also liaises with policymakers to address issues on the environment and climate change in Nigeria and Africa. We do these through engagements with relevant government and local stakeholders and developing policy briefs for states.
With the right funding, CTH will be able to strengthen and build capability for climate action through the numerous initiatives and portfolios we engage in. This ranges from clean cooking, productive use of energy solutions, circular economy, and clean cities.
Climate change has gone beyond a distant reality to a present one. Nigeria’s economy has struggled in recent years, and climate change effects further complicate issues for a sustainable development plan. Electing eco-conscious political officeholders is one step towards winning the war against the climate crisis and providing a sustainable future for all.
Joan Bishio is the Junior Associate for Knowledge and Web Management at CTH
Edited and Reviewed by Aishatu Ella-John and Ene Ijato Abba.