By Kingsley Jeremiah
Stakeholders working to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria, said the nation could address extreme poverty and other social challenges if the country prioritises the goals.
Despite huge resources, Nigeria, Africa’s leading economy is faced with extreme poverty forcing about 100 million (more than 60.9 per cent) people to live on less than a $1 per day.
The goals, launched in 2016 aimed to an end extreme poverty, promote the wellbeing of all, protect the environment, address climate change, encourage good governance as well as ensure peace and security for all by 2030.
But except collaborative measures are designed to enable players, including government, integrate the goals in to policies down to the local government level, Nigeria is not likely to achieve the objectives. The Director, United Nations Information for Nigeria, Ronald Kayanja, said this in Lagos at a forum organised by Nigerian Youth SDGs Coalition and sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
While Kayanja was upbeat about the actualisation of the goals, he insisted that the Nigerian Government has not demonstrated the drive needed to ensure that the goals become feasible.
“If the SDGs must be achieved in Nigeria, the country must tackle it just as they fought against Ebola virus,” he said.
According to him, there must be increased awareness, the agenda must be integrated into government plans, youths must be at the heart of engagements to act as bridge between the older and younger generations, even as more work needs to be done at the state and local government levels.
Co-founder of BudgIT, Oluseun Onigbinde, who spoke on, “How Young People Can Lead the Accountability Framework for the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria, noted that the approached to usage of public resources must be changed, stressing that the goals could only be achieved in the face proper resources control.
“I don’t think SDGs is the right solution. SDGs are the output of a working system. Let’s do much more to get our system working with the right application of public resources,” he said.
Onigbinde urged the youths to do more in awareness, track public projects that are tied to the SDGs and provide feedbacks that would lead to accountability.
Founder of Climate Wednesday, Olumide Idowu, said Nigeria may risk the actualisation of the goals unless it finds a way of localising the objectives.
Idowu said the country did not achieve what it claimed in the MDGs, and may not also realise the SDGs if proactive measures are taken.
According to him, players working to see the actualisation of the SDGs must be ready to merge instead lunching series of platforms that target the same goals.