AWARD ACCEPTANCE/RECONVENING SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, HIS EXCELENCY, SENATOR DR. ABUBAKAR BUKOLA SARAKI ON THE OCCASION OF THE RECONVENING OF GLOBE NIGERIA IN THE 8TH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON THURSDAY, 24TH NOVEMBER, 2016 AT SHEHU YAR’DUA CENTRE
It gives me great pleasure to be among my colleagues, international experts and a vast array of our national leaders, to accept the Green Economy Award and Reconvene GLOBE Nigeria Members in the 8th National Assembly.
I was delighted to foreword the Book on Green Growth Development Pathway for Nigeria because it offers an alternative solution in view of the prevailing economic recession we have found ourselves. It has become imperative that Nigeria think out of the box and transit towards a green growth development pathway because oil cannot sustain us anymore. The recent slump in global crude oil demand and signing of the Paris COP21 Agreement by Nigeria calls for Legislators to come together and assist the Federal Government in her economic diversification effort.
Available data shows that Nigeria can generate over 3 million jobs annually in the renewable energy industry. Why are we not looking in that direction aggressively enough? This is an opportunity for us to create green jobs for our people and i expect GLOBE Nigeria to pursue building the legal framework to support these kinds of ideas.
The 8th National Assembly has become a part of this journey at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together. We may have different stories, but we hold common hopes. We may not be looking in the same direction, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards building a lasting legacy of sustainability for the future of our children and grand children.
The Green agenda and GLOBE Nigeria partnership will not only put us head and shoulders above our peers in collaborating on international environmental management best practices, but would also show our commitment in bettering the lives of Nigerians. It will provide a platform for legislation on environment, ecology and sustainable development as a whole.
However it will not be an easy one as it is likely to meet the resistance of an entrenched system. This pathway is characterized by steps, changes in resource efficiency and shift in emphasis from the shareholder value to stakeholder value. It is a long term process which will require political leadership, new skills, collaborations, continued innovation, research and investment.
I therefore recommend and encourage policy makers, legislators, academics, development practitioners, professionals and partners to avail themselves of this worthy repository of knowledge on low carbon, resource efficient economy which this book offers.
The 8th National Assembly working with the cooperation of GLOBE international is seeking to attract the cooperation of lawmakers in Nigeria towards an empirical trajectory of legislative action to create sustainable and alternative sources of energy, while helping to diversify our economy.
In joining nations such as the United States of America, Japan, China, Indonesia, South Africa; our country’s legislators shall work with all agencies of government to ensure that a sustainable framework is established to produce firm policy programs to promote sustainable forms of energy and improve the quality of life of our people.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, let me express my profound appreciation to SEPAN and the Green Economics Initiative for finding me suitable for this award at this auspicious time. I therefore pledge to continue working for Nigerians using our legislative powers to initiate and pass appropriate legislation towards your work on sustainable and efficient energy. We shall work assiduously with you to achieve positive remarks and responses to global energy and environmental challenges.
This award is significant because it will forever mark the reconvening of GLOBE Nigeria Members in the 8th National Assembly. A unique partnership that will bring science, practitioners and policy makers together.
Recently, our country joined other countries of the world in COP22 Morocco to examine the implementation of the Paris COP21 Agreement. The attention has now moved from the Executive to the Legislature to do the needful in ratifying and institutionalizing parts or all the Paris Climate Agreement in Nigeria. For us as Legislators, we have a challenge to do two fundamental things to make it work properly: First, we must establish a structure of communication with the international community to encourage the exchange of viable legislative ideas on safe environmental practices, of which GLOBE is one of such. Secondly, it is our responsibility to ensure empirical mentoring and monitoring of laws in support of best global practices in environmental management and sustainable development of our land for future generations as enshrined in provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The institutional initiatives of GLOBE are far reaching responses to the most pressing international challenges of our time. Climate Change exacerbated by massive erosion, flooding, decline in agricultural productivity and natural resource conflict in the middle belt of Nigeria all play a role in slowing down the pace of our economic development. It is therefore imperative that Nigerian Lawmakers develop a consciousness on environmental protection and conservation. It is our solemn duty as Legislators to place premium attention on such issues as pollution, erosion control, natural capital accounting, biodiversity, energy efficiency, de-forestation, desertification, flood control and climate change. We should develop and advance legislation in support of sustainable development and support the incorporation of natural capital into government decision-making.
Being the president of GLOBE in Nigeria was an unexpected but delightful journey which began in 2012 when I first came across GLOBE International during my participation at the first World Summit of Legislators at the sidelines of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. What fascinated me the most about GLOBE was the fact that it was a unison of different nations coming together to agree and speak with one voice about the advancement of legislative responses to the major global environmental and sustainable development challenges which we all face around the world.
One of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this initiative when it was founded was to galvanize a cross-party support within the National Assembly to pursue the long march of keying Nigeria into the realm of international environmental management. I am happy that the dream is still alive. It is alive because the number of legislators who have agreed to serve as a member of the GLOBE family is a good testimony.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, you may be aware of my increasing responsibilities as the President of the Senate, meaning it is time to handover to another passionate and enthusiastic leader to continue steering the ship to our final destination. On this note i would like to nominate the duo of ……………………………………………… and ………………………………………… as President and Vice-President of GLOBE Nigeria in the 8th National Assembly. I also thereby humbly reconvene GLOBE Nigeria Members in the 8th National Assembly as an affiliate of GLOBE International.
I congratulate all of my colleagues present here for accepting a noble call to serve. I urge us to continue working together and move to even greater heights. I am always available to provide counsel and support when needed and will always remain your vanguard. I charge all new members joining the fold to be dedicated, steadfast and uphold the mission of the group which is to (i) provide an apolitical scrutiny mechanism to monitor the delivery of commitments by governments; (ii) develop and advance legislation in support of the environment and sustainable development; (iii) support parliamentary diplomatic relationships.
At this juncture, i will like to thank all my colleagues who have stood beside me and GLOBE Nigeria through thick and thin, and also all the Secretariat staff members, who worked tirelessly day and night in their dedication to make this organization flourish. I cannot mention all by name, but I especially would like to thank Mr. Innocent Onah, our Coordinator and my S.A, for his ambition and dedication to facilitate the activities of GLOBE Nigeria over the years. He has a talent for enthusiastically driving everyone to achieve more and more with little or no resources. The new presidents and members will find that he is one asset they cannot do without.
Once more I welcome you all to this gathering of great minds as we look forward to a memorable delivery of effective legislation as contained in the GLOBE Nigeria Strategy 2016 – 2019.
Thank you all and God Bless.
His Excellency, Senator (Dr.) Abubakar Bukola Saraki CON
President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Founder, GLOBE Nigeria