Onuigbo tasks Governors on supporting national drive towards green energy transition

National climate change champion and the father of the Nigeria Climate Change Act, Sam Onuigbo, has provided valuable insight into the implications of the oil and gas transition for the Nigerian economy, as well as the necessity for all levels of government to work together to ensure an equitable transition.

Rep. Sam Onuigbo
Onuigbo, Chairman of the Committee on Security, Climate Change, and Special Interventions, North East Development Commission, and sponsor of Nigeria’s Climate Change Act, 2021, spoke as a Guest of Honour at the workshop organised by the Centre for Climate Change and Development Alex Ekwueme Federal University (CCCD, AE-FUNAI) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) Washington DC to present findings from recent research on the implications of just transition on Thursday, March 21, 2024.

The workshop presented preliminary findings on how Nigeria’s transition away from oil and gas will affect government revenues, employment, and the general economy. The research team, which was led by Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, Director of CCCD-AEFUNAI, said the fact that global green transition is happening and will likely increase in pace in the coming decades regardless of Nigeria’s readiness. They predicted that gas, commonly seen as abridge fuel, will outlive oil in the transition process, creating opportunities for a more stable overall transition for Nigeria.

They, however, warned that a chaotic or unplanned transition away from oil and gas could result in economic breakdown, high fiscal vulnerability and multidimensional poverty in Nigeria. At the same failure to plan for the transition, they said could lead to stranded assets, and the waste of current investments in the oil and gas industry.

During his reflection at the workshop, Onuigbo stated that President Bola Tinubu’s government is working hard to guarantee a smooth transition by signing the Electricity Act within his first 10 days in office. He noted that the Ninth Assembly enacted the electricity law, which removed electricity from the exclusive list as a step towards change. The statute stated that both the federal, state, and local governments can create laws and oversee power generating.

The act, he says, also included specific rules for combining renewable energy at the subnational level to facilitate and accelerate the transition. He noted that the government of Enugu has already taken advantage of this change to pass an electricity act, while Abia state is now generating electricity through the geometric power plant.

Onuigbo stated that it is imperative to leverage the immense renewable energy resources in the country to support the advancement of green transition in throughout Africa.

Onuigbo stated that some indigenous oil businesses have already begun to use renewable energy in their operations, indicating that what was achieved in making the transition from NITEL-based landlines to mobile phones can also be achieved in the context of green transition with courage, vision and boldness. He underlined that, with the numerous policies put in place by the government to facilitate the transition, complete implementation is one of the decisive elements in how quickly we can transition away from oil and natural gas.
In closing, Onuigbo praised the Federal Government for taking the daring step of signing the power bill, and he encouraged all Nigerians to take the subject of transition seriously by turning it into commercial prospects for Nigeria. He noted that the Climate Change Act which was supported by the Femi Gbajabiamila, the then Speaker of the House of Representative and the current Chief of Staff to the President, lays a solid foundation for the massive for the mobilisation on financial resources to advance Nigeria’s climate and energy transition agenda.

He concluded that Nigeria has several policies, including the Climate Change Act, Renewable Energy Act, and Electricity Act, and that, if properly implemented, can provide the groundwork or offer a framework for us to make progress in the transition.

By Elochukwu Anieze, Research Associate at the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD), Alex Ekwueme Federal University (CCCD, AE-FUNAI)

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