The Government of Finland has formally announced Bankole Oloruntoba, a climate innovation expert, as its new Honorary Consul to Lagos.
This was disclosed by the Finland ambassador to Nigeria, Jyrki Pulkkinen, in Abuja on Thursday, 4 March.
He said the emergence of the new consul was not only informed by his age demographic but also because of his existing expertise in areas of climate change innovation for a circular economy.
“Our biggest expectation is that our businesses here have local partners. We have lots of local expertises but not particularly in this area,” he said.
Mr Pulkkinen noted that oftentimes, the honorary consuls are aged individuals and retirees, but that there is a need to bring in more young individuals that are vibrant, rigorous, passionate and ambitious.
“We didn’t look at gender this time. We look at a young generation who is eager to change the world and save the world at the same time,” he said.
It was gathered that Mr Oloruntoba, 41, is the first youngest individual to occupy such a position in the Finland embassy since its creation in 2012.
Finland runs a circular economy where almost all its wastes (both solid and liquid) are adequately recycled to serve other significant purposes, making it one of the leading countries with well established climate change policies in the world.
However, effective and sustainable waste management has been a major concern in Nigeria, where some individuals are constantly in the quest to convert waste to wealth.
Environmental experts believe that improper waste disposal is an unsustainable environmental practice that poses huge threats to biotic and abiotic ecosystems.
Oloruntoba explained that his long drive for climate innovations is what landed him his new role with the Finnish government.
Mr Oloruntoba is one of the young Nigerians blessed with innovative ideas on how waste can be effectively and efficiently collected, transferred, processed, treated and properly disposed in an environmentally friendly manner.
“All I did was to network hubs, startups, technology innovations with other systems. That is what brought me here,” he said.
He said “overtime, knowing that the role of innovation cuts across everything, so when the need for a Climate Innovation Center(CIC) came up, the office of the Vice President through the SA made a recommendation that they need to talk to someone like me.
“That was how the whole climate innovation thing came up.”
Mr Oloruntoba stated that the climate innovation part showed him the possibilities of what could happen between Nigeria and other Nordic countries.
“So I basically focused my energy on how we can create that kind of linkage between the businesses we can find over there which would be interested in the kind of resources we have over here,” he said.