Chiagozie Udeh is Eco-Generation Ambassador to Nigeria, Climate Justice Ambassador and a Radio Host. I have only seen very few people with his kind of passion and dedication. He is always keen to learn and acquire knowledge. I'm sure you remember it being said that knowledge is power. Personally, I expect more from him next year. His 2015 story is a diary of his travels this year and his journey in pursuit of his dreams. I'm pleased that he took out his time to write this and I'm sure you would enjoy it.
It started with goals, goals I hoped to achieve within 12 months. I had enjoyed the previous year making great exploits and earning rave reviews as an On-Air-Personality especially with my host of the major programmes in my radio studio. It was as rewarding as it is exciting. I earned rare joy knowing how happy I made my listener but I knew my satisfaction was still far off.
I am passionate about a few things; Writing, the Media, the Environment, Entrepreneurship and above all, Africa. If I had any fear for them, it was attending to one more than the other. I so wished I could give them all the same level of attention. But as I came to realize, it has to be phase by phase.
So, I started the outgoing year(2015) hoping to do more in each field. I had been the Eco-Generation Ambassador to Nigeria as an enviro-activist for close to a year and I have been quite active but I felt I needed to deepen my foothold in environment activism globally. I needed to be part of a huge international summit in this field to further strengthen my position as a young advocate.
So, the year progressed and on one cool evening in March, I got an invitation email to the Global Youth Summit 2015 in Germany on Climate Change. I had applied for an opportunity advertised in my network for the Climate Change summit in Munich, Germany. I read the email again and again to be sure. I had applied close to, if not, on the last day for application.
So, I traveled to Germany for the summit and it was a marvelous experience. I met amazing people whose passion for the cause probably matched mine. At that summit, everything started. I held talks with businessmen, climate scholars and negotiators, activists, it was just too awesome. I met fantastic Africans who have now become my genuine brothers outside Nigeria. We shared many things in common evident in how easily we connected with our jokes. From Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Nigeria; we all came to Munich. At the end of the summit, a new journey started with the network formed in Munich. Some of the evidences will soon launch in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
I owe special thanks to Pascale Naumann, a great German lady with a pure heart, for ensuring I had a successful trip. Special thanks to these heartwarming ladies including Marieke Ehlers, Helge Bork, Elena Dreher, Carolin Büttner and Stefanie Haug who gave me a great impression of German ladies and ensured a hitch-free summit and also to Ian Eveleigh for his tireless works and then Felix Finkbeiner, whose hardwork with Plant-for-the-Planet and UNEP, brought us all together.
Returning from Germany well equipped with information on the cause I am advocating, I was met with invitations for another summit in Uganda and one in Tanzania, the former on Africa and the latter on renewable energy. I couldn't attend both owing to the hectic schedule I had but I knew a journey has started. One that I will surely enjoy lastingly.
I was having an internship before the Munich trip and was completing it when another invitation came this time to attend the AU Agenda 2063 Youth Summit at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. My schedule made me doubt my chances of attending but who wouldn't love a trip to the AU headquarters? Thankfully, I completed my internship and had time to prepare for the trip. I flew to Nairobi and then, to Addis Ababa to a really warm welcome (something I later realized to be a routine in Ethiopia), not being too sure what to expect, but dig this; it was really an awesome and magnificent time I had in Ethiopia with over 200 African youth delegates from across the world. Ngozi Emmanuel, who had just returned from China, deserves a special mention. She was on my neck to make sure I will be flying to Addis as she was invited too.
In Addis Ababa, I enlarged my already large passion for Africa. It was there that I publicly said for the first time; "I am first African and then anything else". Such was the passion. For the first time again, I learned about some African countries still under colonial rule including Chagos Archipelago, Comorian Island of Mayoette and the right to self determination of the people of Western Sahara. I felt immense responsibility for my continent and wanted to be more involved. I made my recommendations count at the plenary and General Assembly sessions of the summit but still feel I could do better in the implementation.
That is what I feel probably more concerned with most, than with the avoidable situation in Burundi caused by Pierre Nkuruziza, who prefers an illegal presidential term to tons of human blood, Burundian blood indeed.
In Addis Ababa, I felt this is truly where I belong in the heart of Africa making policies and decisions that will drive our continent to her dreamland. The network opportunities was huge and inexhaustible and for the AU Headquarters, you can never take enough photos there. Bitania Lulu, Hindia Mahmmud and Sofanit Beza were some of the great minds from Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development for Africa (YALDA), that made it possible. They already know how proud Africa is of them.
I flew back to Nigeria knowing that I won't be attending the COP 21 in Paris as my schedule had become even more hectic and unavoidable. But Addis capped an awesome year for me.
I won't forget the numerous high profile media trainings I attended within the country one especially made possible by a great soul that is helping me become the best in the field and sourcing training opportunities on my behalf without me knowing, Ifeyinwa Aronu, (you will see more of her soon when she decides to fully unleash her potentials). And to crown it all, was a secret African media survey we had in Enugu in which I was the youngest of the 12 panelists and facilitators from Nigeria, Namibia and Cameroon. The report will be made public in the first quarter of 2016.
All these I had planned as goals for 2015, as I tried but didn't muster enough will for such the previous year. If 2015 didn't leave enough naira or euros note in bank account, I surely laid the foundation for the inflow.
In all, not one of these would have been possible without the grace of God which has never departed me. I had prayed about all and he always answered with some inexplicable favours and ceaseless blessings. I will ever remain grateful to my creator and I am sure to have an utterly super-awesome 2016 with him.
Peace to Africa!