Group laments states’ nonchalance towards SDGs
Afrihealth Optonent Association, a Nigerian Civil Society Organization Network focusing on system strengthening for health, community and social development has expressed worry over the failure of some states in Nigeria to present reports during the validation workshop for the review of Nigeria’s sustainable development programmes (SDGs) due for presentation at a forum of the United Nations in July.
Speaking at a forum organised in Lagos, last week, by the Civil Society Coalition Development on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) to prevail on government at all levels to partner with relevant stakeholders towards the acievements of SDGs, Dr Uzodinma Adirieje, the chief executive officer and national coordinator of Afrihealth Optonet Association, expressed concern over the absence of some states at the validation workshop in Abuja.
“Yesterday in Abuja the federal government presented to us our national voluntary review reforms which is due for presentation at the forthcoming high level political forum that is holding in July. I looked at the report, 103 pages and I discovered that some states’ names were missing.
“Out of curiosity, because my network works in every part of the country, I started with my own state, I searched 103 pages, no mention of my state.
“I checked other states like Akwa Ibom, no mention of their names not even as a footnote. When I enquired why it is so, the consultant said the states failed to respond to invitations to attend meetings and make presentations on what they are doing on SDG,” he recounted.
“Brothers and sisters, you know also that we do not need a soothsayer to tell us that these same states’ officials are also collecting budgetary money from SDG on yearly basis and they have nothing to report. That’s why I like this opportunity, I am also happy that Lagos state is the minority here and I hale the organizers of this forum for bringing some of us from outside Lagos which means many more states are represented here,” he said.
He however charged the delegates from other states to go back and ask questions on why their officials have no report to give in the national forum.
Dr. Adirieje charged the government to see SDGs as the road map for Nigerians towards 2030 and he wants all hands to be on deck to achieve this. He further requests: “Government needs to increase budgetary allocation to the most critical areas as well as vigilance and transparency, vigilance and accountability in areas of health for the people.
“Government should pay attention to the critical SDG goals such as: good health and well being; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduce inequalities; good jobs and economic growth and affordable and clean energy which are SDGs goals 3, 9, 10, 8, and 7.”
To the general public, he said: “The achievement and the realization of SDG is everybody’s business, not just government, not just community, not just Afrihealth and not just foreign partners. SDG is everybody’s business, he said.
He however encouraged business people in Nigeria to increase their corporate social responsibility by supporting communities while also urging non-Governmental Organizations to improve lives in the communities.
“Nigeria is such a great country that we can achieve anything we want to achieve once we pay attention to it and get focused and government takes the lead as they should do, it is done,” Dr. Adirieje maintained.