Nigeria will engage the services of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members across the country and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ambassadors to champion the implementation of SDGs 2030 at the grassroots.
President Muhammadu Buhari said this on Friday at the virtual inaugural SDGs Moment, convened by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the high-level week of the 75th UN General Assembly.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, the president in his video message to the meeting, provided an update on the progress of the SDGs in the country, setting out Nigeria’s vision for the next decade in fighting poverty, combating illicit financial flows and ensuring economic recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our National Assembly has established Committees on Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
“The National Youth Service Corps Scheme is also ensuring that Nigerian graduates actively participate in SDG implementation processes by serving as SDG champions at the grassroots.
“Going forward, we will invigorate the goal achievement process at the grassroots by engaging the services of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals Ambassadors we appointed to support our efforts at the national level.
“We will also encourage more sub-national authorities to appoint and train SDGs Champions,” he said.
Re-affirming Nigeria’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other Internationally Agreed Development Goals, President Buhari told the meeting that anti-corruption institutions have been strengthened to enable the administration effectively combat illicit financial flows and recover proceeds.
Acknowledging that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic had threatened to derail the progress in achieving SDGs, the President said Nigeria is addressing the threat by re-dedicating efforts towards economic diversification, focusing on agriculture and the mining sectors.
According to him: “Nigeria has made good strides in SDGs domestication processes, as we have commenced the re-alignment of the National Statistical System with the requirements and indicators of the SDGs.
”We have developed a novel home-grown ‘Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Model, as an analytical framework for assessing how policy-making can better address the indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.
”Nigeria has also set up a Model Private Sector Advisory Group and an SDGs Donors’ Forum with a view to engaging critical stakeholders towards the attainment of the SDGs”.
The President recalled that Nigeria presented its second Voluntary National Review on SDGs to the UN High-Level Political Forum in July 2020.
According to the President, ”the second Voluntary National Review highlighted our efforts to meet SDGs targets on the critical issues of poverty and an inclusive economy; health and well-being; education and gender equality; enabling environment of peace and security; and partnerships.”
He noted that these targets were based on current development priorities, as captured in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020), as well as the Medium Term National Development Plan (2020-2025).
President Buahri also used the occasion of his address to pledge Nigeria’s commitment to mainstreaming the SDGs into subsequent development plans.
Setting out Nigeria’s vision for the Decade of Action, the President pledged that the country will implement unique initiatives such as the re-aligned National Statistical System to effectively track and monitor the implementation of the SDGs on annual basis.
”The Nigeria Integrated SDG simulation Model to support the domestication of the Planning Model across the 36 states; the Integrated National Financing Frameworks for SDGs; the scaled-up National Social Investment Programme to reach more poor and vulnerable Nigerians in line with our commitment to lift 100 Million people out of Poverty within a 10-year period; and the engaging of all segments of the society for the achievement of the SDGs,” the Nigerian leader said.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has dismissed nursing a 2023 presidential ambition at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.
In a statement issued on Saturday by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate President described as puerile some media reports of him seeking to run for Nigeria’s presidency in three years’ time.
According to him, the reports reflects the “lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.”
Lawan’s reaction comes two days after he and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, met behind closed doors with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting is said to have centered on the recent controversy that arose between the National Assembly and the Minister of State, Labour, and Employment, Festus Keyamo, over the proposed 774,000 jobs.
The attention of the office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to a rather puerile media report that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, is making plans to run for president in 2023. The report was first published by the Daily Independent newspaper of Friday, 17th July 2020 and reproduced later by the Sahara Reporters.
It is easy to see that the report emanated from the sort of practice that drags the noble profession of journalism to the gutters as it only dresses up the lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.
The report apparently has its source in beer parlour gossips and should be treated with the contempt which it and those who concocted it deserves.
It is true that the Senate President was involved in the consultations that President Muhammadu Buhari held prior to the last emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC).
But there was nothing extra-ordinary in his involvement in such consultations, given his status as holder of one of the highest political offices in Nigeria and on the platform of the APC. Such is required of any concerned member of the party. It is therefore sheer mischief for anyone to read ulterior motives to the Senate President joining hands with the President and other leaders in resolving misunderstanding in their own party.
We will like to stress that the Senate President’s preoccupation is with advancing the agenda of the Ninth National Assembly to focus governance on the pursuit of the best interests of the Nigerian people and to support President Buhari in delivering his promises to Nigerians.
The Senate President does not suffer such needless distractions as imputed by the false report under reference. He believes that it is premature for anybody to be talking now about 2023 when all hands should be on deck against the myriad of challenges that faces our nation in this period.
We advise the idle pseudo-journalists to look for other engagements and stop bastardising this noble profession.
According to him, rather than politicking, he has been spending his time trying to think of helpful ideas and policies to help in solving the myriad of problems in the country.
“During this period, I have not busied myself with politicking regarding 2023. I find that a bit distasteful and somewhat uncaring particularly when so many of our people have been unbalanced by the twin public health and economic crises we face. I have devoted these last few months to thinking of 8 policies that may help the nation in the here and now. What I may or may not do 3 years hence seems too remote given present exigencies,” the statement read in part.
Read the full statement below.
THE FULL STATEMENT: BECOMING THE PARTY WE WERE INTENDED TO BE
I wish to begin my remarks by commending members of the National Working Committee. Under their collective stewardship, the party earned great and important victories, not least the vital second mandate handed to President Buhari. President Buhari’s victory, and the overall electoral success of APC speak highly of them. Our task as a party is to build upon the progress thus made so that both nation and party may advance to their better future.
Yet, we must acknowledge that something important has gone off track. For some months we have experienced growing disagreement within the leadership of the party. This unfortunate competition had grown so intense as to impair the performance of the NWC, thus undermining the internal cohesion and discipline vital to success.
Some people have gone so far as to predict the total disintegration of our party. Most such dire predictions were from critics whose forecasts said more about their ill will than they revealed about our party’s objective condition. Predictions of the APC’s imminent demise are premature and mostly mean-spirited. However, an honest person must admit the party had entered a space where it had no good reason to be.
The trouble is not that we would forfeit our collective existence but whether we were in danger of losing our collective purpose. In some ways, this possibility is of greater concern. A political party that has lost sight of the reason for its existence becomes but the vehicle of blind and clashing ambitions. This is not what drove the APC’s creation.
Those who believe Nigeria can be forged into a better nation and deserves good governance must harken back to the establishment of our party. Those who were there and contributed the most to the party’s genesis embraced a common vision. Not only did we believe the venal, purblind PDP was leading the nation into a pit, we sincerely held a common vision of progressive good governance. This was the overriding reason for the APC.
Those most intimately involved in founding the party remain faithful to this benign, timely assignment. Sadly, many members have lost their balance. Their personal ambition apparently came to greatly outweigh the obvious national imperatives.
Even in the best of times, Nigeria is beset by myriad challenges. Poverty and economic inequality, insecurity, lack of infrastructure are longstanding obstacles that have blocked our access to national greatness for too long.
Through no fault of our own, we now live in a moment of heightened difficulty. We did not ask for COVID-19 but it has found us. We must deal with it and navigate its rude economic consequences. At the same time we must grapple with the violent insecurity caused by increasingly desperate terrorists and criminals. People need concrete help from us. We must focus on building roads and creating jobs. For the average man, watching politicians wrestle for position is a poor substitute to seeing politicians working for the benefit of all.
Yet, such intramural fighting has come to occupy the attention of many high ranking party officials and members.
The National Working Committee, itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict. Those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground. Attempts were made to use the power of executive authority to bury each other. I must be blunt here. This is the behaviour of a fight club not the culture of a progressive political party.
Some members went against their chairman in a bid to forcefully oust him. In hindsight, his fence-mending attempts were perhaps too little too late. I believed and continue to believe that Comrade Oshiomhole tried his best. Mistakes were made and he must own them. Yet, we must remember also that he was an able and enthusiastic campaigner during the 2019 election. He is a man of considerable ability as are the rest of you who constituted the NWC.
It had been my hope that the disagreements could be resolved. After all, a political solution should not be beyond the ken of leaders of a major political party. But such resolution has failed to materialise. It was as if some unseen but strong force continued to stoke the embers. Instead of calling a prudent ceasefire, too many people sought more destructive weapons against one another.
Order, party discipline and mutual respect went out of the window. Members instituted all manner of court cases, most of them destructive, some of them frivolous, none of them necessary. In the process, a dense fog fell upon our party.
When this matter first came to a boil a few months ago, I issued a statement against this litigious tendency. President Buhari and former interim chairman Akande published strong words against this misuse of the courts as being contrary to the spirit of the party and the letter of its constitution. Each of us knew nothing good would come of such conduct. Instead of listening to this counsel, party members increased their trips to the courts. While busy providing ample livelihood for a gaggle of lawyers, these actions cast the good of the party to the wind.
After the fusillade of lawsuits and countersuits, two NWC members laid competing claims to the chairmanship. One legitimately elected at our national convention; the latter whose claim was based on the questionable suspension of the former.
With lawsuits so numerous one needed a spreadsheet to keep track, President Buhari has reasonably decided that he has seen enough.
I do not lament his intervention or its outcome. I lament that the situation degenerated to the point where he felt compelled to intervene.
President Buhari is much more than a mere beneficiary of the party. He is one of its founding fathers. The APC does not exist in its current form without his singular contributions. That is not opinion; it is an undisputed fact.
Given these antecedents, he cares about the condition of the party as any parent would care for its offspring. President Buhari has done what any parent in his position and with his authority would do. The more troubling consideration is that so many trusted people acted in such a way as to force the president to put aside the issues of statecraft in order to address these problems.
The President has spoken and his decision has been accepted. It is now beholden on all of us, as members of the APC, to recommit ourselves to the ideals and principles on which our party was founded. While we recognize that people have personal ambitions, those ambitions are secondary, not sacrosanct. Members must subordinate their ambitions to health and well-being of the party. Never should our party be defined by one person’s interests or even the amalgam of all members’ individual interests. A successful party must be greater than the sum of its parts.
In this vein, I appeal to all former members of the National Working Committee and all members of our party to sheathe their swords and look to the larger picture.
We have governorship elections around the corner in Edo and a primary and elections in Ondo. On these important events we must concentrate our immediate energies. In the longer run, we must restore the collegial nature to the party so that it should be in the practice of coming to support the President instead of him having to rescue the party from itself.
In Edo, we must rally round our candidate Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu. In this, Comrade Oshiomhole has a crucial role to play. I congratulate him for his equanimity and loyalty to the party and our President in accepting the dissolution of the NWC. I encourage him, now, to return to Edo State to energise the campaign for the election of Pastor Ize-Iyamu.
In Ondo, we must set the procedures for primaries and conduct that exercise in a fair, transparent manner that shows the Nigerian people the party has left turmoil behind.
In addition to the daily operation of the party, the Caretaker Committee has the mandate to prepare for a mini national convention within six months. We must give the committee the support needed to fulfil this assignment in an impartial manner.
As I understand it, no one has been precluded from seeking any party office to which he is otherwise eligible. Former NWC members are free to seek re-election to the NWC. Provided they have the support of party members, they will have an opportunity to return to serve the party in a leadership capacity. This reflects our overriding desire to restore and maintain internal democracy not subvert it.
To those who have been actively bleating how the President’s actions and the NEC meeting have ended my purported 2023 ambitions, I seek your pity. I am but a mere mortal who does not enjoy the length of foresight or political wisdom you profess to have. Already, you have assigned colourful epitaphs to the 2023 death of an alleged political ambition that is not yet even born.
At this extenuating moment with COVID-19 and its economic fallout hounding us, I cannot see as far into the distance as you. I have made no decision regarding 2023 for the concerns of this hour are momentous enough.
During this period, I have not busied myself with politicking regarding 2023. I find that a bit distasteful and somewhat uncaring particularly when so many of our people have been unbalanced by the twin public health and economic crises we face. I have devoted these last few months to thinking of policies that may help the nation in the here and now. What I may or may not do 3 years hence seems too remote given present exigencies.
Those who seek to cast themselves as political Nostradamus’ are free to so engage their energies. I trust the discerning public will give the views of such eager seers the scant weight such divinations warrant.
Personally, I find greater merit trying to help in the present by offering policy ideas, both privately and publicly, where I think they might help. I will continue in this same mode for the immediate future. 2023 will answer its own questions in due time.
I have toiled for this party as much as any other person and perhaps more than most. Despite this investment or perhaps due to it, I have no problem with making personal sacrifices (and none of us should have such a problem) as long as the party remains true to its progressive, democratic creed. Politics is but a vehicle to arrive at governance. Good politics promotes good governance. Yet, politics is also an uncertain venture. No one gets all they want all the time. In even a tightly-woven family, differences and competing interests must be balanced and accommodated.
My fellow party members who now feel aggrieved by the NEC meeting I urge you to accept the sacrifice you have been asked to make so that the air can be cleared, the party can assume its proper role of helping this government lead the nation toward enlightened improvement, and the party itself can grow and firmly establish itself as the best, most democratic party in the land.
Taking a walk down memory lane, the lawmaker said that in 1999 when Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected into power, “the mood of the nation was for a southern president from the western part of Nigeria”
Adding that when Obasanjo was to leave in 2007, the mood of the nation shifted to the north, hence the emergence of late Ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua .
He further noted that in 2015, Goodluck Jonathan would have been re-elected but the mood of the nation at the time was still for a president from the north.
According to the lawmaker, this was the major reason why President Muhammadu Buhari won his election into office.
Having established the role of ‘moods’ in Nigerian polity, Ekweremadu projected that the mood of the nation would be “a product of Igbo extraction” in 2023.
Speaking on the performance of the legislature, Ekweremadu who said that Nigeria’s legislative arm of government is mostly misunderstood because the public doesn’t really know too much about it noted that the nations needs institutional memories.
He said so much money is spent on training parliamentarians but most of those trained are often kicked out of the parliament before they can impact the nation with the skills and knowledge acquired.
The Deputy Senate President also talked about other pressing issues including security challenges.
Labeling the recent attempt on his residence as unfortunate, the lawmaker said the incident is one that raises questions regarding the security of the ordinary citizens of the country.
He charged the authorities to ensure that every Nigerian is well protected and hoped that the police will get to the root of the attempt on him and his family.