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Governors have duty, scope to support national drive towards just transition – Dr. Onuigbo

National climate change champion and the father of the Nigeria Climate Change Act, Dr. 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.

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, would 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 generation.

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 Femi Gbajabiamila, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives and the current Chief of Staff to the President, lays a solid foundation for the massive mobilization of 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)

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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