Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Calabar green carnival: How far so fa?

...What has happened to our N100 Million trees of last year green carnival? 


According to Agba Jalingo, "One of very crucial essence of technological and digital inventions is the reduction of man-hours, reduction of cost and ease of doing things among others.

One of such inventions in the open market is flying robots designed by a tech company called BioCarbon Engineering, to plant trees on a massive scale.

Millions of acres of degraded landscapes have been brought back to life by drones that plant trees around the world.

The drones, which were developed by an ex-NASA engineer, have been shown to plant trees exponentially faster than locals being forced to plant them by hand, and the method is far cheaper than traditional planting methods.

Representatives of the company estimate that with two local workers being trained to operate a fleet of ten drones, they could plant up to 400,000 trees per day." (End of quote) 

Recall that in July last year, the Cross River State government under the digital leadership of Governor Ben Ayade claimed to have Manually planted over one million trees across the state, spending over one hundred million nairas. The governor while delivering his speech last year during the green Carnival (an event hurriedly put together to siphon money) announced that this year's green carnival will see the state spending over N500 million to plant trees again. 

As we approach yet another July, four months to the 2020 version of Green Carnival, I dare to ask our amiable digital governor "where are the trees we planted last year? What mechanism or process was put in place to ensure the whopping investment of N100 million from a state with lean resources didn't go down the drain? 

As we prepare to sink yet another whopping N500 Million to plant more trees, have we evaluated the successes and failures of last year's tree planting event?

I am not against the planting of trees, after all, it will help replace the massive felling of trees that took place some 5 years ago in the name of the superhighway. 

I am also aware that illegal logging is one of the oil-money-business among top favored politicians and associates of government, (That is why the efforts of the newly appointed chairman of the anti-deforestation task force are being truncated by agents of the government. 

So the planting of trees will eventually replace the vigorous and wicked activities of these businessmen. 

But my reservation is, why will you seek to spend so much money in achieving little when you are digital? 

Again let me conclude this article by quoting the concluding part of Jalingo's last year's advise to the governor.

"...Yesterday, (30th July, 2020) the Green Carnival which held in Calabar was meant to plant one million trees costing N100million. While the N100million has been accessed and expended, no one should be deceived that one million trees were planted. I have no empirical figures to quote but my mind tells me we couldn't have planted even a hundred thousand trees because most of the event was not planting, it was dancing, gyration and biking.

The governor has promised to spend N500million in 2020 to also plant trees. But more than 60 percent of all these millions could be saved if the governor decides to be truly digital in" (his remaining days in office).

Ukorebi Esien