22 April 2014


"Many will look at the trees, the sky, the ocean, and so forth and comment, 'isn't mother nature wonderful?' Well, it is not 'Mother Nature', but 'Father God' who provided all of the beauty we enjoy" ~Bill Wiese

The green revolution and the fight for the protection of nature has been on for a while now. Mother Earth Day has been observed for over 4 decades, and I'm sure the question in your mind is, how much of the environment have we salvaged from green house gases and our bad anti-sustainability habits? Well, the answer is obvious, not much. Most of the advances made in this revolution have been made in developed--or should I say G20--countries.

That's why people like Ayomide are important to the Green revolution. Ayo is Nigeria's Eco-Generation ambassador; an initiative powered by Samsung and the United Nations Environment Programme. His job as an Ambassador is quite simple, but hard, considering the absence of the 'green psychology' in the area he's working.

How can he get the regular commuter in a commercial bus to stop throwing trash from the window of a moving vehicle? How can Nigeria--and Africa--migrate to a green economy? These are some issues we discussed in course of this stroll. Ayo is also a lawyer and is one of Africa's youngest corporate events host who has being the host for numerous prestigious events. Here's my 'green' walk with Ayo;

Ebenezar: it's great to have you on the stroll, Ayo.

Ayomide: Thank you, Ebenezar. It's a great honour to be on the stroll.

Ebenezar: So, today is International Mother Earth day and you are Nigeria's Eco-Generation Ambassador. What are the duties of an Eco-generation Ambassador?

Ayomide: Basically, the duties of an eco-generation Ambassador are multi-dimensional in nature although they have one focus which is the protection of the natural environment. By necessary implication, my duties include planning, executing and participating in various environmental awareness programs in Nigeria which of course, is the region I represent, and I have the responsibility of representing the environmental scenario of Nigeria. But more importantly, I carry the voice of the universe at an international level. I research and network extensively with the aim of becoming adequately knowledgeable on current global environmental issues and on information about Eco-generation platform as well as sharing and reporting on contemporary environmental challenges/breakthroughs in Nigeria to a broader audience while making relevant consultations with key policy makers and environmentalists on solutions that may be adopted to resolve identified environmental challenges in Nigeria.

Ebenezar: Okay, how much of these duties have you performed so far in Nigeria? 

Ayomide: As you may know, I got appointed a little while ago but I have actively begun embarking upon promoting awareness of environment-related issues in Nigeria with the aim of directing the consciousness of Nigerians especially the young ones whom I believe to be agents of positive change given the necessary and right platforms, towards understanding the quite unbearable dangers lurking in many activities of ours, which deplete the environment and more importantly, taking of individual Eco-friendly responsibilities.

Just to cite an example to buttress the above, last month (March), I organised a tweet conference for the purpose of enlightenment, tagged #GreenChat where I constructively engaged an environmentalist in Nigeria on a number of issues relating to environmental protection in the country and I am currently working on a project titled "Go-Green Nigeria" which specific details would be made known to all very soon.

Ebenezar: What are some simple habits Nigerian youths can inculcate to help save the environment? 

Ayomide: I believe very strongly that it actually begins with passion; a simple resolution and desire to save the environment because the truth is, passion fuels the energy to succeed with a cause. Consequently, I advocate first, that Nigerian youth should become passionate about environmental protection and desire to save nature. Without this, all efforts would be in futility. Then of course, is the need for us to drop the seemingly little habits that actually impact the environment adversely. For example, let's inculcate the habit of dropping our satchets of water, chocolate and biscuit wrappers et cetera in waste bins, and not on the streets and other inappropriate places. If we ignore and fail with these little things,then we cannot talk about more demanding responsibilities. And yes, Nigerian youth who are working to save the environment should be interested in educating others as friendly as possible, on the benefits of protecting the environment so to speak.

(Image Credit: earthday.org)
Ebenezar: Mother Earth day is meant to draw awareness to the environment and the state of the earth. Do you think there's enough awareness about climate change in Nigeria? And what can be done about this?

Ayomide: To a very large extent, awareness about climate change in Nigeria is not really enough considering a number of factors such as the high level of illiteracy and poverty which make a great number of Nigerians incapable of accessing, understanding and fully appreciating information being disseminated about climate change. And there is also the issue of very few individuals and agencies involved in the promotion of climate change awareness as against the over 100 million people living in the country. Addressing this therefore demands a number of holistic approaches in the form of strengthening grass-root enlightenment programmes on climate change, sincere collaboration between the government and the private sector to sponsor more effective initiatives that would generally increase climate change literacy and the involvement of public figures or celebrities who have acquired huge following to use available platforms to take climate change information across divides.

Ebenezar: Another challenge environmentalists and conservationists face is the illegal killing of endangered wild animals. Now, you read law in the University and I'll like to know if there's any provision in the Law to provide protection for these animals and the environment?

Ayomide: Yes, there is adequate legal provision for the protection of endangered and threatened species of animals and even plants in Nigeria. The country is a signatory to some significant international treaties regulating activities that concern these species such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wild Species of Fauna and Floral, 1973 and we have also domesticated laws along this line, the most significant among them being the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade And Traffic) Act CAP E9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 which is an Act that provides for the conservation and management of Nigeria's wildlife and the protection of some of the endangered species. Specifically, Section 5 subsection 1 of the Act criminalises the contravention of the provisions of this Act with respect to activities involving endangered flora and fauna and further prescribes penalties for such contraventions.

Ebenezar:  So many Acts and subsections there I must say, (hahaha). Okay, What motivated you to study law?

Ayomide: Well, the passion I have for effecting positive social transformation and the desire to be a part of meaningful administration of justice in Nigeria and indeed everywhere motivated me to study Law. Though it has become some sort of cliche which however is gospel truth, Law is an instrument of social engineering.

Ebenezar: One thing I know Lawyers do a lot is talk! (Lol) And oratory is a skill you've mastered to a large extent as you have compered many national and international events. What's on your mind when ever you host these events?

Ayomide (Left), hosting an event
Ayomide: Hahahaha, Ebenezar, I'm so going to sue you after this stroll. 

Ebenezar: (Hahaha) Not guilty my lord, haha!

Ayomide: Well, two things actually always come to my mind whenever I host events whether they are national or international. First is the self-persuasion that I must give the best form of performance which creates an exciting and electric ambience to the amazement and satisfaction of the organiser(s) of the event and second, that I must make the event quite memorable in a way that leaves the audience wanting for more.

Ebenezar: Who/What will you give credit to, for your achievements so far?

Ayomide: Without any modicum of doubt, I ascribe whatever I have achieved so far to God who has given me an unusual clarity of mind and the strength to pursue my dreams with great focus and determination which have really stood me out from the crowd. And my parents have also been very awesome from the very first day. They believe so much in me such that they would do everything right and necessary to validate my dreams. My confidence is what I boast of at every point too.

Ebenezar: Any advice for youths out there who wish to impact their world just like you're doing?

Ayomide: Find your path, lace your boots and run your own race. If anything, you've got to inspire yourself to be more focused on results and not rewards. for rewards are not always certain and those who are motivated by rewards are the most easily demotivated people in life.

Ebenezar: Very well said bro, well said. Thank you so much for your time Ayo, I wish you all the best in your endeavours.

Ayomide: You are welcome Ebenezar, and thank you for the very kind words and for having me on the stroll. I didn't quite believe I could "talk a lot" until I had this stroll with you.Haha!

Ebenezar: (Hahaha) You're welcome. All the best

For more about Ayo(@AyoAtitebi), you can visit his blog or hangout with him on Google+

#GreenCities is the focus for Mother Earth day 2014. I'll like to think that, before a city can be green, the occupants of that city will need to have a 'green mentality' first. It starts with the very little things like, disposing our trash properly and turning off bulbs we don't need. Planting at least one tree will go along way to purify the air around you.

The conservation of earth is our responsibility. We were put in charge, and so far we've not been doing a great job. I hope we improve. Till my next stroll on--World Book and Copyright Day--when I'll be talking to the brain behind the Port Harcourt World book capital city project; be good, be green. Jesus Loves you.

"The Lord God put man in the garden of Eden to take care of it and look after it" (Genesis 2v15, CEV)


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