By IGHO OYOYO
The Presidency has said that the series of crisis that has affected Nigeria, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the prolonged nationwide #EndSARS protest have the tendency of affecting the actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 agenda.
The SDGs 17 goals proposed to be actualized before 2030 are; No poverty, Zero hunger, Good health and well-being, Quality education, Gender equality, Clean and sanitation, Affordable and clean energy, Decent work and economic growth, Industry, innovation and infrastructure, Reduced inequalities, Sustainable cities and communities, Responsible consumption, Climate action, Life below water, Life, Peace, justice and strong institutions and Partnerships for the goals.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire who made this known at a strategic retreat for senior journalists and media organisations held in Abuja on Thursday, stressed that there is the need for Nigerians to support the government in actualizing set goals that would better the lives of the people, instead of allowing crisis to overwhelm the government.
Orelope-Adefulire used the opportunity to appeal to protesting Nigerians to dialogue with the government and give them the opportunity to fulfil promises made to them, saying that there cannot be proper development in an atmosphere of crisis.
“We can resolve things without allowing it to resolve to violence. We should not make our grievances known through violence or crisis. We must learn to embrace peace and with peace everything is possible. That is the only way we can make progress. Nigerians should look at better ways of resolving issues, other than this violence we are experiencing presently in Nigeria.
“Many people have died in the cause of the prolonged protest and crisis arising from it. Can we bring the dead back to life even if we are able to resolve this matter on ground? We cannot bring them back. We cannot continue to go like this and say we are achieving SDGs 2030, it is not possible. But we can just find a way to resolve things amicably.
“We are not apportioning blames on anybody, but we are just thinking that the way to go, is more of dialogue and ensure that peace reigns in our country. We do not have any other place to go and nobody will do it for us, we have to do it for ourselves. God will help Nigeria,” she said.
The Presidential Aide further said the support of the media is pertinent because by their training, journalists have the capacity to engage actively with the public and private sectors towards the achievement of the SDGs in Nigeria.
While noting that the 17 SDGs are a universal call to end poverty, safeguard the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by the year 2030, Orelope-Adefulire pointed out that SDG-16, which aims to ‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’ succinctly captures the strategic roles of Journalists.
She noted that specifically, Target-10 provides that countries should ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.
The Presidential Aide therefore urged journalists to see themselves as part of a larger team committed to the transformative promise of SDGs to lift humanity and ‘leave no one behind’.
Orelope-Adefulire also informed journalists at the retreat that despite the challenges confronting the country, Nigeria has made progress since President Muhammadu Buhari joined other World Leaders during the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2015 to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
She noted that the Federal Government, the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory have established institutional mechanisms for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda which, she noted, envision a present and a future that is economically sustainable, social inclusive and environmentally resilient.
The Presidential Aside further noted that the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs) was established in January 2016 to provide horizontal and vertical inter-governmental coordination; multi-stakeholders’ partnership and resource mobilization; as well as robust advocacy and communications for the SDGs in Nigeria.
OSSAP-SDGs, through its Conditional Grant Programme, CSGs, she said, had in the past five years supported governments at the sub-national levels and other stakeholders on projects and initiatives aimed at achieving the 17 goals of the SDGs.
She also said working with the subnational governments, other stakeholders as well as its local and foreign partners OSSAP-SDGs has established framework, processes and strategic initiatives designed to aid the success of the 2030 Agenda in Nigeria.
The Presidential Aide listed these to include the include the Development of a Country Transition Strategy – From MDGs to SDGs – 2016; SDGs Data Mapping and the Publication of Nigeria SDGs-Indicators Baseline Report -2017; Integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the SDGs into the Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan ;Domestication and Customisation of the Nigeria Integrated Sustainable Development Goals (iSDGs) Policy Simulation Model -2019 as well as ongoing Re-alignment of the National Statistic System (NSS) with the requirements and Indicators of the SDGs.
She also told journalists that OSSAP-SDGs has commenced the design and implementation of the Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) for the SDGs and presented Nigeria’s 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in July 2020.
While reiterating her commitment to the to the successful implementation of the SDGs Nigeria navigate the ‘Decade of Action’ for the Global Goals, Princess Orelope-Adefulire noted that through there are challenges, they are not insurmountable if all Nigerians work together.