Ondo First Lady Mrs Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu delivers keynote address at the 8th Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo in Abuja
ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HER EXCELLENCY MRS. BETTY ANYANWU-AKEREDOLU AT THE 8TH
NIGERIA ALTERNATIVE ENERGY EXPO (NAEE) 23 OCT.2018, AT SHEHU YARADUA CONVENTION
Title: The making of Young Solar Technology Leaders: The BEMORE Experience.
Ladies and gentlemen, I feel truly honoured to have the opportunity to address this distinguished audience. The Nigerian alternative energy expo (NAEE) overtime has proven to be at the epicenter of global action on renewable energy and the environment in the past seven years, with this current expo being its culmination.
With that, I congratulate the organizers for having placed renewable energy and the environment at the center of their activity, and for providing such dynamism to discussions on environmental issues.
It is my sincere belief that environmental policies and campaigns must not only be viewed through the prism of conservation, but also through optics of exciting new opportunities for economic growth.
The global climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse – much more quickly than predicted. The world’s leading climate scientists have warned that there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released recently, says we have just 12 years to make massive and unprecedented changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to moderate levels.
This is the largest clarion call from the science community. I hope it mobilizes us as a people to act and figure out how to deal with the situation backed by evidence-based information.
Going by evidence-based facts and figures on climate change, though alarming, the world is increasingly acknowledging the fact that our over dependence on fossils fuel constitute an enormous danger to the planet earth and all the inhabitants.
The exploitation of fossil fuel in many parts of the world leaves tears and blood in its wake. From the destruction of farmlands that leads to food insecurity to pollution of rivers with the attendant deprivation of portable water and health hazards, there is a global effort to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.
Without doubt progress is being made. Solar energy is inching steadily to become a dependable source electricity.
Electric cars are gaining currency in the countries of Europe and America. As a clean byproduct of waste, Biogas not only provides energy, it helps to eliminate filth thereby contributing to a healthier environment.
Whereas all these efforts are going to make our world a better place for us all and generations unborn, as a gender equality advocate, I took a closer look to know who is who in this effort especially as it concerns my immediate environment, Nigeria.
Alas, like in most endeavors, women were missing. If found, the number was painfully negligible!
In my search for genuinely effective answers to bridging the gender gap in tackling the climate crisis, I have through my foundation the Bemore Empowered Foundation, organized boot camps to train girls on embracing the renewable energy culture noting that women are worst hit by the catastrophic impact of climate change. Not limiting myself to this alone, I have also held series of stakeholders meetings with NGOs, scientists, and CEOs on the need to promote the use of renewable energy. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising poverty levels.
Various researches have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world’s energy
These girls mostly drawn from under privileged backgrounds in rural communities are groomed in various aspect of solar technology from installation, to designing of house hold equipment like solar phone chargers, solar ovens and solar reading lamps to aid their study etc.
The success recorded so far is unimaginable. Infact some of our BEMORE girls like Tolu Ehinmosan of Stella Maris College, Okitipupa, Ondo state built a solar oven for home economics practicals for her school. Marvelous Jegede of Arigidi Grammar School, Akoko, Ondo state installed solar panels to power her home after two years of “No NEPA” (no electricity) and is currently working on lighting up her school through solar power.
Our Super four from Imo state, namely Victoria, Grace, Rejoice and Sylvia assisted in the solar installation work at IgoloAbiam Place at Owerri that houses Solar laboratory and Owerri Tech Hub.
Time will not permit me to regale us with tales of their exploits but what we have achieved, in a nut shell, is to raise an entire new generation of young girls who are not afraid to venture into a career space traditionally thought to be reserved for men. In no distant future, I see them become technology leaders in renewable energy. The BEMORE girls I just mentioned are here with us. Tolu ,Marvelous, Victoria, Grace, Rejoice and Sylvia, please stand up for recognition and I want to encourage us to stop by the BEMORE exhibition stand to hear their testimonies first hand.
I must at this point appreciate the effort of our technical partner, ASHDAM, for grooming these girls every step of the way. To all our donors both big and small for your financial contribution to BEMORE Summer Bootcamps in Ondo and Imo states. You reassured me that I was not dreaming, that citizens-driven initiative is possible in Nigeria.
Consequently, BEMORE Summer Bootcamp has taken a life of its own with prospects for replication nationwide. Thank you all for believing in me and making BEMORE Summer Bootcamp a huge success.