To avoid a repeat performance of failed previous government policies like Vision 2010 and others, calls are being made on the government to ensure that SDG succeeds. Writes TOPE OLUSANYA.
An urgent call for action by all countries was made in September 2015 when all member states of the United Nations General Assembly, including Nigeria, came together in New York to agree on an agenda for sustainable development. This agenda which was developed into 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for the people and the entire planet.
The SDG otherwise known as Global Goals, with 169 targets, are to be achieved by year 2030. In a global partnership, ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand- in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality spur economic growth, while tackling climate change and working to preserve the ocean and forest.
The implementation of these goals is described as localising the SDGs to highlight the roles of local institutions and local actors. In other word, each country is expected to domesticate the goals in a way that reflects their local realities for effective achievability.
Nigeria in search of a pathway to 2030
Tracking progress towards the goals in Nigeria years after, it is quite unfortunate that the country is still groping in the dark, searching for the path way to 2030. As the case was, when Nigeria, despite her potentials as the giant of Africa, failed to attain the MDGs, just like many other African countries. The SDGs which is a successor programme to the MDGs is also going same way.
It is obvious that there are efforts being made by the present administration towards the achievement of the SDGs. Part of it is the establishment of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the president on SDG. There is also House Committee on SDGs at both lower and the upper chambers of the National Assembly to provide oversight function on appropriation for the SDG.
The indices are not saying so
It is not only laughable but also ridiculous the position of the senior special assistant to the president on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who sometimes last year said Nigeria was ahead in SDGs implementation.
She was quoted as saying Nigeria was making a lot of progress in the implementation of the global goals.
According to her, ‘’We are making a lot of progresses and we are not doing badly in the implementation of the SDGs. Within three years, we have bench-marked ourselves as a government and know where we are,’’ she said.
A critical assessment of Nigeria’s performance in 1 out of the 17 goals, according to analysts betrays Mrs Orelope’s claim.
For instance, a look at goal 4 of the SDGs and its 10 targets said, “To ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” however, how does one reconciles this fact with the reality that Nigeria currently has the highest out-of-school children in the world with an increase from 10.5 million to 13.2 million according Demographic Health Survey (DHS). This is at variant with SDG 4.1 and 4.2.
Analysts express doubt
“With emphasis on university education full of theoretical delivery and discrimination between HND and BSc, how do we achieve SDG 4.3 and 4.4 ?” asks Dr Tunde Badmus, an educationist.
“The indices and madam SDGs’ claim does not just add up. How many of our school facilities are built with the vulnerable and persons with disabilities in mind? Goal 4.5 remains a mirage.
Goal 4.6 talks about universal youth literacy. An assessment of Nigerian youth on this scale would make one to cry. A substantial proportions of our youth today who are supposed to be in school are idle at home, many of them trapped on substance abuse while a good number of them are in other countries illegally seeking for greener pastures.”
The effectiveness of SDG 4 is anchored on sound learning environment, scholarships, qualified teachers and educators.
“How many schools in Nigeria have access to safe water and toilet facilities, water is a luxury in most of our schools. I challenge the president’s aide on an inspection tour round schools in Nigeria to prove me wrong. Children still trek several kilometres to school in the rural communities where cow dungs are still being used to darken the writing board in this modern age.”
Temitope Musowo of the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan asks, “What is the ratio of teacher to pupils in our classes? Are the teachers well trained for the job? Ask Gov Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state. Apply for any training through this international cooperation programmes for developing countries, if you submit your form to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without giving the staff bribe, such form will never get to the appropriate embassy. I am a living witness.”
Our developmental plan and national vision
If Nigeria as a country has this record of failure in just one of the 17 goals, what is the level of performance in the remaining 16 goals?
Mrs Orelope who also talked about goal 16 in that report, forgot that strong institutions that regulate is the bedrock for achieving those goals. Analysts say if that was in place, recent incidence of building collapse especially in Lagos leading to the death of school children would have been avoided.
The fact, however remains that one cannot plan for development without reliable and accurate data. Until recently when the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) became more efficient, Nigeria relies on statistics from WHO, IMF, UNDP, Wold Bank about record of things in the country.
Musowo said, “It is a known fact that achieving the SDGs is not the sole responsibility of the government alone, businesses, civil society and general public must play their parts but the government leads while others follow.
“And if we think we still have time, that 2030 is still far away from here, this is closer than we think, 12 years is just three world cup tournaments away from here. If we don’t development a plan towards achieving the SDGs, history will repeat itself as was the case with the failed Vision 2010 and others.