By Solomon Asha
Welcome to the Cross River Green Carnival Calabar 2016, which was introduced and included in the Carnival Calabar last year by the incumbent administration of the Governor of the state, Senator Ben Ayade.
Based on the prime place which the Ayade leadership in Cross River attaches to the issues of “Climate Change”, the theme of last year carnival Calabar was climate change and the 2016 edition still retained the theme.
One of the central philosophy behind the introduction of Green Carnival into the Carnival Calabar by Governor Ben Ayade is to draw the attention of world leaders, opinion molders, international/regional/national/local commentators and the entire global community to the glaring reality of the devastating effect of climate change that is confronting our mother-earth and its inhabitants-man, animals, plants, water and other species with the aim to finding sincere and committed ways to addressing the challenges.
Indeed, no man in his right senses will shy away from the horrific global scourges in the form of increasing heat from the sun, flooding, tidal wave/tsunamis, unrestrained manner at which the earth resources are being depleted, disappearance of many animals, marine and plants species and the looming global starvation staring mankind frontally, brought about by climate change.
Another plausible reason behind the introduction of Green Carnival is the undisputable fact that Cross River state holds almost 60 percent of the remaining forests in primeval form in Nigeria, thereby contributing a good percentage of the hope of not just Nigeria and Africa but global survival through a deliberate restorative global measure as well as the employment of sustainable ways of exploration and exploitation of earth’s natural resources for the benefits of the present and future earth inhabitants and mother-earth herself.
Unarguably, with a large chunk of the pristine forests remaining in Nigeria, and Cross River state in particular, the prime place and role the state plays and will continue to play in Nigeria, Africa and the world on issues concerning climate change and its consequences and effect to reverse the negative trend is understandably and cogent.
This means that Cross River is contributing and shall continue to contribute with sustainable management of her forests resources to the provision of clean air being filtered and provided by her vast pristine forests for the benefit of the world.
Forests and indeed pristine forests such as the ones fond in Cross River state are the major sources of mankind survival on earth as they provide us with clean air to breathe, serves as habitats for animals, woods for furniture, industrial and domestic purposes, herbs/leaves/roots/fruits for eating and for medicinal purposes, provide watershed protection and also ensure the prevention of soil erosion.
Pristine forests such as those of Cross River contributes a great chunk to the 30 percent of world’s land surface forests and like other remaining forests serves as habitats for biodiversity. World Wild-Life Foundation (WWF) documented that more than two billion humans globally depend on forests for the provision of shelter, fuel, water, food and other livelihood, with 300 million persons living in forests out of which 60 million are indigenous people; just as the forests provide 13 million persons globally with employment in the formal sector of the forests.
Sadly enough, it is reported that between 1990 and 2015, a total of 129 million ha of forests which is an area equivalent to South Africa was lost with its entire ecosystem obliterated with dare and greater consequences first to mankind who is the perpetrator of the heinous crime and then to our fellow occupants of the planet, mother-earth.
It is also projected that 80 percent of the forests in 11 locations and countries in the world, out of which two locations are in Africa, (One in Nigeria, and Cross River State to be specific) would likely be lost by the year 2030 if concrete and proactive actions are not taking to stem the tides of forests deforestation, pillage and other unhealthy and unsustainable activities of some individuals globally.
Cross River therefore plays a very significance role in the global fight against the scourge of climate change. If Cross River contributes much to the last vestige of hope which humanity has as regard surviving on earth in the years ahead, then it also has the unhindered right to enjoy the benefits funds from Carbon Credit for providing a percentage of that hope for the world.
To continue to remain relevant in this direction through sustainable and healthy management of the state vast forests resources, the administration of Governor Ayade is deliberately carrying out enlightenment and sensitization campaign of not just the global community, Africans and fellow Nigerians through the Green Carnival on the hope which forests hold for humans, but most importantly for Cross Riverians on the need to hold dearly what God has bestowed on them by supporting the government’s effort to sustainably manage the forests for the good of all.
To this end, a total of 5 million trees have been earmarked for planting by the administration of governor Ayade, a bold policy not just to replace trees and forests that had been cut down over the years, but to sufficiently replace one tree with at least three or four trees and to make the entire state green and a thick canopy of forests.
It is hoped that with the aggressive level of sensitization being waged by the government of Senator Ben Ayade concerning climate change, the prediction of doom that 80 percent of the global forests would be extinct by the year 2030 shall not come to pass beginning with the positive activities that are being carried out and would be sustained starting from Cross River, Nigeria in particular, and then hopefully in the other one location reflected in the prediction Africa and then the rest of the world.
We are equally positive that the benefits from preserving our forests for the good of ourselves, our future generations and the rest of mankind would help provide a more better and dignified alternative livelihood for those whose activities presently pose grave danger to the survival of the forests and our biodiversity because they rely wholly for their livelihood on the forests and its resources. This writer has the unshakable faith that administrations beyond Ayade shall fervently keep this spirit to care for the earth’s resources entrusted into our care, a movement given birth to by a no lesser person but an Environmental Scientist Professor and governor of Cross River, Senator Ben Ayade.
Welcome to Cross River State Green Carnival 2016 and celebrate with the people of the State and Nigeria, keeping the dream of reversing the devastating effects of climate change for our good and for the good of the generations unborn brightly fanned consistently.
Solomon Asha is a Media Aide to Governor Ayade of Cross River State.