AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY COMMUNIQUE TO THE FIFTH AMCEN SPECIAL SESSION, GABORONE, BOTSWANA – OCTOBER 2013

We, the representatives of African Civil Society Organizations and Networks under the auspices of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance met in Gaborone, Botswana, on October 12-14, 2013 for the Pre-AMCEN African Civil Society Consultative Workshop, ahead of the 5th Special Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). The Workshop also served as the UNEP Regional Consultative Meeting with Major Groups and Stakeholders in the Africa Region (MGSF) in preparation for the Global Ministerial Environment Forum and 15th Session of the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum scheduled to take place in 2014.

Aware that the IPCC-WG I released in Stockholm, Sweden in September 2013 raised red flag on the rapidly heating earth and the certainty of man’s contribution to the growing concentration of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere;

Further aware that the adverse effects of climate change manifested by prolonged droughts, shifting seasons, rising sea water levels, tropical cyclones, land slides, newly emerging environmental refugees, and diseases have compromised Africa’s right to development and attainment of national sustainable development and poverty reduction aspirations;
Concerned that the last two decades have been characterised by unfulfilled promises and commitments by developed countries to Africa in particular hence breeding an atmosphere of ever-diminishing trust and confidence in international negotiations processes;

Further concerned of the cruel irony that a people who have lived for so long in harmony with Mother Earth, imprinting the lightest of footprints, now suffer a crisis they contributed the least towards it cause;
Inspired by the need to strengthen our voices as civil society and community groups to contribute to our Governments’ Positions on various global standpoints.

Acknowledging the efforts by Africa to speak with one voice during the UNFCCC-COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland
Acknowledging the fact that non-state actors contribution to the UNFCCC process and its outcome is essential for informed policy formulation and monitoring of its implementation at all levels.

Desirous that the One Voice should be that of and be informed by realities of the local communities in the affirmation of the authority of the Civil Society and communities as the expression of the sovereign will of the people;
Appreciating, as a positive step, the COP18 outcome on decision made on promoting gender balance and improving the participation of women in UNFCCC negotiations and related processes;
Recognizing the progress made so far by the Africa Group, African Ministerial Conference on the Environment and African Union through CAHOSOCC to harmonise African climate change response efforts;
Declares as follows;

1. Keep Africa safe:
We support the acceptance of “loss and damage” as a key area of discussion for the new climate agreement. Africa should also continue calling for the blanket of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to be returned to well below 300ppm CO2eq and warming to be limited to well below 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with the objective of returning to pre-industrial levels in the longer term.
Based on the accounts we have heard form the local communities, women, youth, indigenous groups of the intolerable conditions caused by climate change including a case of a pastoralist who took his life after loosing all his cattle to a prolonged drought, and based on the report of IPCC Working Group I 5th assessment, even warming of this level globally risks warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius in Africa, dangerous interference with our climate, and loss and damage requiring compensation. A goal of “less than 2 degrees Celsius” is no longer ambitious as accepting it would be condemning Africa to incineration and to no modern development.
> 2. Ensure poverty eradication and food Security:
> Climate change poses grave risk to Africa’s food security, and to the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers and rural poor communities. African leaders should thus ensure the decisions they support at global level leads to atmospheric concentrations stabilized in a time frame that safeguards food production and ecological systems to adapt naturally, and safeguards jobs and economic development. Agriculture remains one of the crucial sectors affected by climate change and which supports food and livelihoods security of millions around the world especially in developing countries. African governments should therefore put pressure to Parties and SBSTA to conclude the agriculture negotiations under UNFCCC with focus on adaptation and expand the remit to cover sustainable livestock production systems as part of solution to climate change.
3. Share the atmosphere fairly:
African people have the inalienable right to achieve sustainable development by making use of a fair share of the Earth’s global commons and resources. The carbon budget required to return to well below 300ppm CO2eq should be shared fairly with Africa taking into account the accumulative historical use of these resources by developed countries and the finance and technology transfers made available to developing countries.

4. Industrialized countries to cut excessive consumption and pollution:
Comprehensive action to address climate change should constitute drastic emissions cut by industrialized countries at domestic level. The withdrawal of Canada, New Zealand, Russia and Japan from the KP2 and the continued refusal of United States to ratify the Kyoto Protocol are not good signals to the rest of the global community. These countries should accept their historical responsibilities, reconsider their position and recommit without further delay and conditions.
Though science points to the current emissions of some emerging economies exceeding the industrialized countries, we should recognize that current atmospheric concentrations are principally the result of historical emissions of greenhouse gases, the largest share of which originated in developed country Parties. There is an urgent need for emission cuts by having specific target for all Annex I parties to reduce emissions by at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 100% by 2050 below 1990 levels.
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> 5. Protect and compensate affected communities:
> African leaders should not compromise on their demand that ensures that industrialised countries compensate affected communities and countries for the full costs of avoiding harms, actual harms and damage, and lost opportunities for development resulting from climate change. Any effort to establish adaptation as an obligation and not a right, or to use adaptation as a means to divide or differentiate between developing countries should be resisted. An international mechanism for compensation on the loss and damage caused by extreme weather events related to climate change should thus be established. Though the Green Climate Fund has been established, many observers fear that it may follow the direction of other Climate Funds before it, which remain empty shells after they were shunned by industrialized countries, that favor undemocratic multilateral institutions the can control.
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> 6. Polluter not poor pays:
> Developed countries have prospered through “cheap carbon” growth while externalizing their costs to the atmosphere and to developing countries through what has been christened “offsetting”. The costs are now born by Africa, as we mitigate and adapt to a crisis we played little role in causing. To avert a climate catastrophe and enable mitigation, adaptation and technology transfer to developing countries, developed countries must make available financing of more than 1.5% of their GDP. Efforts to shift the burden of financing away from developed countries and towards developing countries or the markets that have not worked should be avoided. Creation of “unsupported” or “market” NAMAs (actions) are inconsistent with the Convention and thus experiments that are not worth investing.
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> 7. Transfer the tools to adapt and develop.
> A “Marshall Plan for Africa and for the Earth” is an emergency that should awaken all stakeholders. Curbing global emissions within a decade requires technology transfers on a scale never before considered. African leaders should compel developed countries to remove intellectual property rights, pay full incremental costs of technology transfer to protect developing countries and contribute for peaking and declining of global emissions. Efforts to sell rather than transfer appropriate technologies, or to strengthen rather than relax intellectual property rights should not be allowed. Developed and developing countries should support the adoption and development of indigenous and locally innovated technology as well as ensuring efficiency in technology transfer and deployment.
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> 8. Fair not false solutions:
> Industrialized countries must not shift burdens to address climate change to developing countries, or seek to “divide and rule” the countries of the South, or to penalize developing countries through trade or other measures. Creation of global carbon markets or sectoral trading mechanisms, by which the developed countries will take more of Africa’s rightful share of atmospheric space should be discouraged.

9. Systems change not climate change:
We should acknowledge the structural causes of the present crisis, and that the climate crisis will not be solved with the same level of thinking that created it. A new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings should be the only sustainable way to comprehensively deal with climate change impacts. To balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings. There is need for fundamental change to the current system of social and economic organization. A new order building on the wisdom of our civilizations to live well and to live in harmony with Mother Earth should be the common clarion call for our leaders.

10. Keep to the commitments made:
More pressure from African leaders to ensure developed countries honour and deliver on their commitment of providing US$100 Billion by the year 2020 should be exerted. Industrialised countries must scale up their Commitments to fulfill their obligation to provide adequate, new and additional funds as this amount is far from all estimates of climate finance needed by developing countries. In COP19, Africa should ask Parties to the Convention to establish a clear and transparent mechanism for monitoring, verification, and evaluation of delivery of climate funds.

Our leaders should call for immediate establishment of an independent process to conduct transparent and consultative verification on developed countries’ claim that they have successfully delivered all FSF of over USD 30 billion to developing countries during 2010-2012 in accordance with controversial Copenhagen Accord, which metamorphosed into Cancun Agreement.

In light of the past failures and lessons learned from past and existing climate funds, the Green Climate Fund must ensure transparency, openness, local communities’ easy access, country ownership and respond primarily to the needs of vulnerable communities. The Fund must respect such principles as sovereignty, self-determination the fulfillment of State obligations; “Do no harm”, Financial integrity and anti-corruption, Public consultations, “Equity, non-discrimination and inclusion”, “Compliance with International Law and Upward Harmonization with the Highest National and International Standards”.

GCF must recognize that human and environmental rights obligations have primacy over financial obligations

> 11. Gender equity and enhanced stakeholder participation:
> Though COP18 made some progress in recognizing gender in negotiating text, still much need to be done. Participation of women, youth, indigenous people and marginalized groups in UNFCCC negotiations and representation of Parties in bodies should be balanced between North and South, taking into account the respective differences.
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> 12. Defend democracy:
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> The Since the UNFCCC constitutes the fundamental legal framework on climate change African leaders should demand for establishment of effective and accountable institutions under the Conference of Parties. Any response to the climate crisis that is of the people, by the people and for the people should be the guiding principle of future efforts.

Governments across the world should end years of delay and meet their moral, historical and legal obligations. Movements, people’s organizations, civil society groups and citizens from all walks of life are gradually coming together in a global campaign on climate and environmental justice. African civil society’s desire is to stand in solidarity with the leaders of any nation who seek a solution to climate change that is founded on justice, builds on the best available science, and ensures the well-being of Africans and other peoples and countries.

13. Effective participation in Post 2015 and SDG process
Africa should promote a Single framework with poverty alleviation at the centre and the three dimensions of sustainable development (environment, economic and social). A comprehensive mechanism to deal with the environment should be developed at the level of African Union Commission and the relevant institutional framework for sustainable development should be strengthened and the collaboration and sharing of information between the African missions in New York and the Capitals should be enhanced.
14. United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA):
As the strengthened and upgraded UNEP is poised to play an effective role as a follow-up to Rio+20 in integrating three dimensions of sustainable development, the Committee of Permanent Representatives allow full participation of Major Groups. Major Groups already accredited under UN ECOSSOCC should be recognized by UNEA, while elected MGSF Regional Representatives should be accorded speaking rights at the Committee of Permanent Representatives and UNEA. Broader partnerships between UNEP and other organizations in efforts to fulfill its mandate should always be promoted, with UNEP not limiting itself policy formulation but also implementation

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Promoting the voice of the Girl Child in shaping her education through –

Banner girl child day – v3

banner International Day of the Girl Child
banner International Day of the Girl Child

A presentation made at the celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child organized by Lagos State Universal
Basic education Board in partnership with centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st), Education sector Support Program in Nigeria (ESSPIN), Civil Society Action Coalition On Education for All (CSACEFA) and Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT)
The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated on 11 October, a day designated by the United Nations for promoting the rights of girls, and addressing the unique challenges they face. The inaugural day in 2012 focused on the issue of ending child marriage. As the lead agency for the Day, UNICEF, in consultation with other United Nations agencies and civil society partners, selected Innovating for Girls’ Education as this year’s theme, in recognition of the importance of fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward and building on the momentum created by last year’s event.
As the nature and scale of barriers facing girls becomes more complex, innovative strategies are needed to give girls an education that prepares them for the challenges of the 21st century. As the world evaluates the gaps that still remain in achieving global goals for gender equality in education and defines an agenda that moves beyond the Millennium Development Goals, it is critical that innovation brings about solutions for improving girls’ education that are not only more creative, but also more effective, efficient, sustainable and just.
The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.

While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many parts of the country are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized.

Innovation will be an important strategy in addressing the nature and scale of barriers girls continue to face and in ensuring they receive an education commensurate with the challenges of the 21stcentury. As the world evaluates gaps in achieving the global goals for gender equality in education and defines an agenda post-2015, it is critical that innovation is harnessed to improvise solutions that are not only more creative, but also more effective, efficient, sustainable and just in achieving demonstrable results for improving girls’ education.

In recognition of the importance of fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the theme of International Day of the Girl Child for 2013 is:

Innovating for Girls’ Education.

Smart and creative use of technology is one route to overcoming gender barriers to girls’ learning and achievement, but innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves, can be important catalyzing forces. The Government and Civil Society Organizations, and private sector actors have potential tools to innovate for and with girls to advance their education. The following are just some of many examples:

• Improving public and private means of transportation for girls to get to
school—from roads, buses, mopeds, bicycles to boats and canoes

• Engaging young people in monitoring and holding school systems
accountable for ensuring the integrity of school facilities and functions
and the safety and learning of girls

• Collaboration between school systems and the banking industry to
facilitate secure and convenient pay delivery to female teachers and
scholarship delivery to girls

• Provision of science and technology courses targeted at girls in schools,
universities and vocational education programmes

• Corporate mentorship programmes to help girls acquire critical work and
leadership skills and facilitate their transition from school to work

• Revisions of school curricula to integrate positive messages on gender
norms related to violence, child marriage, sexual and reproductive
health, and male and female family roles

• Deploying mobile technology for teaching and learning to reach girls,
especially in remote areas

• Using traditional and social media, advertising and commercial
packaging to publicize data on gender disparities in education, the
underlying causes, and actions that can be taken for change

The International Day of the Girl Child 2013 will provide a platform to highlight examples such as these – and many more – of ongoing work and achievements, as well as raise awareness of the importance of innovation in advancing girls’ education and promoting learning and empowerment.

Examples:

Voice Of Children Influencing Parliamentary Process

Child participation has had an impact on the parliamentary process in Nigeria by increasing parliamentarians’ awareness of children’s rights. For example, the process has played a significant role in the passage of Nigeria’s Children’s Rights Act.

During the public hearing on the draft bill, members of the Children’s Parliament made a special presentation, called ‘Voices of Nigerian Children – Children are an Investment and not an Expenditure’. The children made their views known in their own language and urged parliamentarians to pass the legislation in order to improve the situation of Nigerian children. Following the public hearing, the child parliamentarians paid courtesy calls on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, urging the parliamentary leaders to ensure the prompt passage of the bill. The children were invited to sit in the galleries of both houses during the debate and consideration of the bill’s provisions.

Participation Serves To Protect The Girl-Child

The right to express views and have them taken seriously is a powerful tool through which to challenge situations of violence, abuse, threat, injustice or discrimination. Children traditionally have been denied both the knowledge that they are entitled to protection from violence, and the mechanisms through which to challenge this situation. The consequent silencing of children and the abuse they experience has had the effect of protecting abusers rather than children. However, if they are encouraged to voice what is happening to them, and provided with the necessary mechanisms through which they can raise concerns, it is much easier for violations of rights to be exposed.

The self-esteem and confidence acquired through participation also empower children to challenge abuses of their rights. Furthermore, adults can act to protect children only if they are informed about what is happening in children’s lives; and often it is only children themselves who can provide that information. Violence against children in families, schools, remand homes and institutions, or exploitative child labour will be tackled more effectively if children themselves are enabled to tell their stories to those people with the authority to take appropriate action. The people in authority must also have an open mind in understanding and addressing these issue.

Conclusion

How do we find a lasting solution to the challenges facing the education of the girl-child if we don’t know the causative factors? And who better to give the causative factors but those who are the key ACTORS and PLAYERS.

We need to promote the voice of the girl-child in shaping her education.
Therefore, it is suggested that this be achieved through providing information, promoting inclusion of the girl-child at all levels of activity, supporting them in accessing the media, and enabling the girl-child to participate in awareness-raising programmes at local, national and regional levels. This would lead to the building up of the girl-child who will be able to contribute positively to future economic growth of the country, be able to take decisions and be accountable, as well as be responsible mothers of the next generation.

Thank You

Laila St. Matthew-Daniel
ACTS Generation – Empowering & Transforming Women & the Girl-Child
Transformation Strategist for Change
Research Base: Unicef, UN

Promoting the voice of the Girl Child in shaping her education through – Innovation: a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions

Being A Presentation made at the International Day of the Girl Child 2013organized by State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB)in partnership with Centre for21st Century Issues (21st), Education Sector Support Program in Nigeria (ESSPIN), U.K Aid,Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All(CSACEFA) and Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT)

Banner girl child day – v3The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated on 11 October, a day designated by the United Nations for promoting the rights of girls, and addressing the unique challenges they face. The inaugural day in 2012 focused on the issue of ending child marriage. As the lead agency for the Day, UNICEF, in consultation with other United Nations agencies and civil society partners, selected Innovating for Girls’ Education as this year’s theme, in recognition of the importance of fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward and building on the momentum created by last year’s event.
As the nature and scale of barriers facing girls becomes more complex, innovative strategies are needed to give girls an education that prepares them for the challenges of the 21st century. As the world evaluates the gaps that still remain in achieving global goals for gender equality in education and defines an agenda that moves beyond the Millennium Development Goals, it is critical that innovation brings about solutions for improving girls’ education that are not only more creative, but also more effective, efficient, sustainable and just.
The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.

While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many parts of the country are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized.

Innovation will be an important strategy in addressing the nature and scale of barriers girls continue to face and in ensuring they receive an education commensurate with the challenges of the 21stcentury. As the world evaluates gaps in achieving the global goals for gender equality in education and defines an agenda post-2015, it is critical that innovation is harnessed to improvise solutions that are not only more creative, but also more effective, efficient, sustainable and just in achieving demonstrable results for improving girls’ education.

In recognition of the importance of fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the theme of International Day of the Girl Child for 2013 is:

Innovating for Girls’ Education.

Smart and creative use of technology is one route to overcoming gender barriers to girls’ learning and achievement, but innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves, can be important catalyzing forces. The Government and Civil Society Organizations, and private sector actors have potential tools to innovate for and with girls to advance their education. The following are just some of many examples:

• Improving public and private means of transportation for girls to get to
school—from roads, buses, mopeds, bicycles to boats and canoes

• Engaging young people in monitoring and holding school systems
accountable for ensuring the integrity of school faicilities and functions
i and the safety and learning of girls

• Collaboration between school systems and the banking industry to
facilitate secure and convenient pay delivery to female teachers and
scholarship delivery to girls
i
• Provision of science and technology courses targeted at girls in schools,
universities and vocational education programmes

• Corporate mentorship programmes to help girls acquire critical work and
leadership skills and facilitate their transition from school to work

• Revisions of school curricula to integrate positive messages on gender
norms related to violence, child marriage, sexual and reproductive
health, and male and female family roles

• Deploying mobile technology for teaching and learning to reach girls,
especially in remote areas

• Using traditional and social media, advertising and commercial
packaging to publicize data on gender disparities in education, the
underlying causes, and actions that can be taken for change

The International Day of the Girl Child 2013 will provide a platform to highlight examples such as these – and many more – of ongoing work and achievements, as well as raise awareness of the importance of innovation in advancing girls’ education and promoting learning and empowerment.

Examples:

Voice Of Children Influencing Parliamentary Process

Child participation has had an impact on the parliamentary process in Nigeria by increasing parliamentarians’ awareness of children’s rights. For example, the process has played a significant role in the passage of Nigeria’s Children’s Rights Act.

During the public hearing on the draft bill, members of the Children’s Parliament made a special presentation, called ‘Voices of Nigerian Children – Children are an Investment and not an Expenditure’. The children made their views known in their own language and urged parliamentarians to pass the legislation in order to improve the situation of Nigerian children. Following the public hearing, the child parliamentarians paid courtesy calls on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, urging the parliamentary leaders to ensure the prompt passage of the bill. The children were invited to sit in the galleries of both houses during the debate and consideration of the bill’s provisions.

Participation Serves To Protect The Girl-Child

The right to express views and have them taken seriously is a powerful tool through which to challenge situations of violence, abuse, threat, injustice or discrimination. Children traditionally have been denied both the knowledge that they are entitled to protection from violence, and the mechanisms through which to challenge this situation. The consequent silencing of children and the abuse they experience has had the effect of protecting abusers rather than children. However, if they are encouraged to voice what is happening to them, and provided with the necessary mechanisms through which they can raise concerns, it is much easier for violations of rights to be exposed.

The self-esteem and confidence acquired through participation also empower children to challenge abuses of their rights. Furthermore, adults can act to protect children only if they are informed about what is happening in children’s lives; and often it is only children themselves who can provide that information. Violence against children in families, schools, remand homes and institutions, or exploitative child labour will be tackled more effectively if children themselves are enabled to tell their stories to those people with the authority to take appropriate action. The people in authority must also have an open mind in understanding and addressing these issue.

Conclusion

How do we find a lasting solution to the challenges facing the education of the girl-child if we don’t know the causative factors? And who better to give the causative factors but those who are the key ACTORS and PLAYERS.

We need to promote the voice of the girl-child in shaping her education.
Therefore, it is suggested that this be achieved through providing information, promoting inclusion of the girl-child at all levels of activity, supporting them in accessing the media, and enabling the girl-child to participate in awareness-raising programmes at local, national and regional levels. This would lead to the building up of the girl-child who will be able to contribute positively to future economic growth of the country, be able to take decisions and be accountable, as well as be responsible mothers of the next generation.

Thank You

Laila St. Matthew-Daniel
ACTS Generation – Empowering & Transforming Women & the Girl-Child
Transformation Strategist for Change
Research Base: Unicef, UN

NIGERIA @53: RECLAIMING POWER TO SECURE OUR FUTURE

Since my birth in the mid 1980s in Nigeria and as much as I have been conscious of my environment, irregular power supply has been a recurring challenge in Nigeria. Passing through primary and secondary school and now in the university; at a time when free education had become history coupled with the ever present challenge of erratic power supply has ensured that schooling and passing exams continues to be a herculean task.
Inadequate power supply has affected the education of Nigerian youths more than any other thing. We did not enjoy free education, free health, good roads and a host of other things that our parents enjoyed that made schooling a good experience.
Today, we commute to school in rickety old public buses on bad roads whereas our parents had the privilege of commuting to school in good condition scholars bus provided by the government for students only. Our parents had free meals with milk as additional dietary intake to keep them healthy and alert to learn while in school but we did not have that privilege. Our poor parents find it hard to give us at least one meal a day while struggling to pay our schools fees. Our schooling is further challenged by poor remuneration of the few teachers that are available and incessant strikes by Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked upon by university lecturers.
All these challenges are not happening in isolation of the decay and rot that had eaten deep into all sectors of Nigerian economy. Corruption, bad governance, infrastructural deficit, mismanagement of resources and insecurity unleashed on the nation by kidnappers and Boko Haram are all challenges which makes the education of the Nigerian youth a misadventure in today’s Nigeria
The impact of erratic power supply is one of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria today. Apart from the fact that it is critically hindering quality education and seriously limiting the production of human capacity needed to power the Nigerian economy, it is also frontally attacking the economy, in that energy to power our industries and service sectors are procured at a very high cost. Many companies in Nigeria have relocated production to Ghana where they enjoy stable power supply thus deepening unemployment challenges for our youths
Today as we celebrate 53 years of independence, I am celebrating the independence in darkness. I have not seen electricity in the last 4 days in my area and I am greatly worried that I may continue to celebrate independence in darkness for many years to come if no action is taken by government.
As a young man, experiencing all these challenges, it is important to engage these issues with my peers. As young people we need to “reclaim power”. Meaning that, we must start making our voices heard in influencing our policy makers to tackle the issue of sustainable power supply. We must reclaim our space in the political sphere and actively participate in governance and policy processes.

I call on Nigerian government to ensure stable and regular power supply by year 2015.It is only when we have stable power supply that we can truly have independence. Independence without regular power supply is bondage in darkness. “Let there be light”. Let us light up Nigeria, let Nigerians truly feel and celebrate independence.
I call on Nigerian youths to Reclaim Power Now! Reclaim Power as in stable power supply and energy to power our economy, reclaim power as in political power and voice to influence policies. We must reclaim power to secure our future.
I love Nigeria and still believe that Nigeria shall be great. Happy independence Nigeria!!!
This article is written by
MR. Adekunle Samson Akinde Program Assistant /Media Officer with Centre for 21st century issues (C21st)