UPDATED: Nigerian Activist, Ofehe Decorated With FUPRE’S Centre For Sustainable Development Fellow Title
The Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Centre for Sustainable Development, in Ugbomro, Uvwie local government area of Delta State, has decorated a Netherlands-based Nigerian environmental rights activist, Comrade Sunny Ofehe, with fellow title.
BIGPEN NIGERIA (www.bigpenngr.con) reports that Ofehe became one of the few decorated by the Center as a distinguished fellow after the pioneer recipient, Dr Newton Jibunoh, a Nigerian explorer, environmentalist and historian popularly known as ‘Desert Warrior’.
The event which had a lecture tagged; “Climate Change & Flooding: The Niger Delta Experience, Causes, Defence & Response”, was organised by the institution’s Centre for Sustainable Development as the maiden stakeholders forum/discussion series.
Held at the ICT centre of the institution, the event also witnessed planting of a tree by the recipient as symbol of his commitment to a greener environment, one of the cardinal goals of the Centre for Sustainable Development, FUPRE.
Delivering the only lecture of the event as a special guest speaker, Ofehe urged the federal and state governments to use the Netherlands flood risk management model to tackle perennial flooding confronting the nation.
He lauded the management and officials of the center for packaging the event which he said would enable stakeholders proffered solutions to the perennial issues of flooding confronting the Niger Delta region.
While thanking the institution for finding him worthy of the fellowship, Ofehe maintained that one of the ways to deal with the issues of flooding is to protect the shoreline and also dredge the rivers for commercial purposes.
He said that just as the Dutch were able to transformed their ecological disadvantage into an agricultural advantage through the use of technology to create irrigation systems, pathways, artificial canals and dams to force the flow of water, the federal and state governments can through public private partnership arrangements develop the God-given natural canals, creeks that dot the Niger Delta into mega economic hub.
Ofehe, an environmentalist of international repute having taken challenges of the Niger Delta before United Nation’s General Assembly in Geneva as well as addressed the European Parliament in Brussels, is standing election as the governorship candidate of Young Progressive Congress (YPP) in Delta state for the forthcoming general elections.
He said that he sees the fellowship award not as an accolade but something that would spur him to do more for humanity.
He promised to collaborate with the institution to help facilitate their quest for exchange programmes with foreign universities, as well as developing a research blueprint on how flooding can be tackled in the Niger Delta region.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr Emeka Elemike, Acting Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development, FUPRE, said that Ofehe was carefully selected as one of the few recipients of the fellow title after Jibunoh due to his pedigree in the civil society space
Performing the investiture, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, who was represented by Prof. Doris Ogeleka, the deputy vice chancellor Administration, said that the institution would be pleased to collaborate with Ofehe in realizing the full potentials of the Centre for Sustainable Development which entails collaboration.
Others who spoke at the event including the deputy vice chancellor Academic, Prof. Engr. G. Ofualagba, Prof. Christopher Onosemuode, Dean of Postgraduate School, Civil Society Director, CSD, Deacon Okezi Odugala, Dr. (Mrs) Juliet Emudianughe, an associate professor and Director, Strategic Plan and Development, FUPRE, Henry Erikowa of Coastal and Marine Area Development Initiative (CMADI), Amb. Godson Uwadiale, Ambassador of UN SDGS Network, and national President of nongovernmental organization, Better Standard Living Development Initiative (BSLDI), Mr. Samson Ogowewo, harped on the need for stakeholders to collaborate with the center to drive its research and developmental programmes.
The highpoint of the event was when Ofehe joined by his deputy governorship candidate, Mrs. Eloho Chalele-Dafe (Esq), was invested as a fellow and later planted a tree christened “Fix-Delta” in line with his campaign mantra as symbol of his commitment to a greener environment, one of the cardinal goals of the Centre for Sustainable Development, FUPRE.