A Nigerian Youth Advocate impacting the world through climate actions (SDG13)

By Ikechi Nonso

As the electioneering season starts across Nigeria and the federating States, various political parties, politicians are now fully engaged in marketing and de-marketing of their alleged political opponents within and outside their parties.

Far away in North America, a young man by name Gbujie Daniel Chidubem from Southeastern Nigeria, Umuayaka-Akabor, Ahiazu Mbaise,Imo State is placing his State and country on the Global Map.

Following his impressive global advocacy strategy implemented through an organization, he founded 15 months ago called "Team 54 Project", a not-for-profit group that raises awareness about the impact of climate change and its effect on sustainable development Goals amongst vulnerable nations.

Along with his passionate members they coordinate global actions through various ways either in partnership with actions of known international groups like; Climate Reality Project an organization chaired by Mr. Al Gore Ex-Vice, President of United State of America or the international organization called Parvati.org founded by a famous Canadian singer Ms. Parvati Devi, and they also work with individuals to educate and empower their members and communities that their programs have taken roots.

The group membership has citizens from 169 nations, who work to place the organization as one of the leading advocates of a sustainable future based on a green philosophy which supports Eco-Friendly initiatives.

Gbujie was at some point the first African and First Nigerian to be part of an 8-man delegation of the World Media Association to the United Nations Framework convention on climate change conference in Marrakesh during the 2 weeks conference in November 2016.

The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource.

Another role of the UNFCCC is to supports all institutions involved in the international climate change negotiations, they make practical arrangements to assist nations in implementing their commitments, and to coordinate with the secretariats of other relevant international bodies, notably the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its implementing agencies (UNDP, UNEP, and the World Bank), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on how best to achieve sustainable ecological development. A multiple award winner and Eco-writer

Following all these accomplishments, The Nigerian was invited last week to the United Nations by the President of United Nations General Assembly, H.E Miroslav LajĨák to be part of the High-Level meeting on Peacebuilding and achieving Sustainable Development Goals along with hundred global stakeholders. The meeting took place at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations (UN) from Tuesday 24th - Thursday 26th Apri 2018.

This type of accomplishment has not been seen before and definitely not by any youth from Imo State or any in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. He continues to showcase the true color of our Africa heritage. He is a worthy African Ambassador from the Igbo ethnic extraction and dresses in traditional attire seen in the country, for all international and local engagements he is invited.

" I owe no one born apologies for the way, I dress to international functions because the traditional dress is part of my culture and my identity as a human of which am so proud to show the world that I am proud Mbaise Man from Nigeria and nothing is going to change that forever," he said.

He holds the view that he was born for a great purpose, a purpose he believes is to create a better world and change the perception of people he shares common value with like other Africans and another country of the globe about the new crop of Nigerians from Mbaise. Gbujie believes that creating a sustainable society is achievable only if people in the community are ready to be part of the inclusive, participatory agenda and are ready to work hard to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

On 2nd of March 2017, Gbujie was part of the few Africans sponsored to participate in the Prestigious Climate Reality Project Leadership Training program in Denver, Colorado which exposed him to the climate advocacy movement and complex interconnection that the environmental challenge has on other sectors of life like health.

Gbujie met with one of the greatest global environmental advocate, a Nobel laureate Winner and Ex-Vice-President of United State of America during the training, His Excellency, Mr. Al Gore, discussed with him and they shared thoughts of what the future holds for Africa and the rest of the world, with the new friendship he developed , he was able to established a global network of passionate advocates and also established many collaborative ideas and project across the globe with great individual and organization.

Gbujie has carried out over 600 Acts of Advocacy on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the globe with a target goal of 1000 before the end of the year.

He returned to Imo State to establish the first All-female farmers/Gardeners group in his ancestral home in Akabor Ahiazu-Mbaise Imo state on 30th of May 2017. A region constantly marginalized and affected by poverty, establishing the farmers club after he saw, the way his kinsmen practiced agriculture by burning farmlands, which was detrimental to the environment and their health.

He explained to the elders and the women that their agriculture practice of burning fields and trees plus the indiscriminate use of chemicals like pesticides are causing environmental problems that are also affecting the society. This lead to the launch of his Rural Green Initiative in Mbaise, Imo State Nigeria. This initiative provided support for the female farmers by providing high power seeds from overseas and encouraged them to plant fresh food in gardens, cash crops, and flowers on every available land seen and proper management of disposable waste though in a little scale.

He also has been able to bring the message of climate change and how it affects the community disproportionately to his people.

The Climate Reality Project in a commendation letter signed and sent on 9th of March 2018 by the organization Chief Executive Officer on behalf of Mr. Al Gore, wrote to Gbujie, recognizing his tremendous efforts in the global fight against climate change and his pursuit for the greener environment among vulnerable nations.

He was recently appointed a global brand Ambassador for MAPS in April 2018 by an international organization Parvati.org , a group that raises awareness about an initiative called The Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS), the project campaigns to declared the Arctic zone a marine protected area, that should be free from oil drilling, military seismic testing, and all other commercial exploitation.

Gbujie's organization continues to tackle the challenges of climate change within and outside Nigeria through planting trees, shrubs, creates regular online recorded messages delivered in local languages in viewing center in the community, support clean-up exercise to remove waste and were able to organize an international conference on climate change from 7th-9th December 2017 in the Philippines supported by the central, provincial and Mayoral government

Since creating Team 54 Project, 15 months ago, the organization has made an impact by creating opportunities. For example, Nigerian fashion designers who are his members, joy knew no bound when Team 54 Project was able to partner with a company in India that produces green Eco-friendly clothing material, the collaboration has transformed their lives.

Another example of the impact Gbujie is making across, is the introduction of the green painting Artwork, which one of his member living in Switzerland does by using the can spraying technique, Carvart as he is called, is able to raise awareness about climate change through his Artwork which depicts the impacts and the urgent need to act and creates job for him.

"I have been able to create a value-based content idea, through the fusion of the individual skills, talent, and passion, the passion we are talking about is the burning desire to do great things that can impact others and the environment positively through using one's skills or talent.

He has delivered over 189 papers and powerpoint presentations across the globe, with more presentations waiting to be delivered before the end of the year. Noticeable among them is the presentation he will be making as a speaker at the 5th World Conference on Climate Change and Global warming from the 23rd of May - 24th of May 2018 at the prestigious Hilton New York JFK Hotel, 135 Avenue Queens New York USA. The international event will be attended by heads of states and renowned scientists and researcher working on climate change science and Sustainability Innovations.

"I am also working tirelessly to see to it that the Nigeria Government stop gas flaring by multinational oil companies in Nigeria, this he is doing working with other local groups in the country, and he is also campaigning for the nation to shift to clean green technologically driven economy," he said.

As I conclude this article about this great son of Africa, I am again reminded that there are few among us that are extraordinary because they are able to harness the passion within them to create a great idea that makes an impact and positively influences others to do better too.

Gbujie is indeed an Extraordinary man who has elevated the nation globally as a place where intelligent and creative people can be found, he deserves to be recognized by all the levels of government in Imo State and Nigeria.

So that others young Nigerians and youth from his states can emulate and be inspired to do greater things too.

Congratulations, Dr. Gbujie Daniel Chidubem, we are proud of you and all your accomplishments.

Indeed Nigeria have wonderful people, but truly Mbaise has Great Men and Women.

Mbaise nweremadu!

Writer: Mr. Ikechi Nonso, is a freelance Journalist from Aboh-Mbaise LGA, based in Imo State and he is the Zonal coordinator of the Youth Coalition For A Better Imo (YCFBI)