Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says the Nigerian elite has a responsibility to ensure that they do something fundamental to transform the Nigerian society.
Professor Osinbajo was speaking at the inauguration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Private Sector Advisory Group at the Presidential Villa.
According to him, countries that have pulled their people out of poverty succeeded because the elite in such societies decided to do so.
Some of the targets of the 17 SDGs, which have taken over from the millennium development goals include: to overcome poverty, reduce hunger, introduce good health and quality education, as well as good jobs and economic growth.
The event was attended by captains of industry in the Nigeria, including the Chairman of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh.
The Federal Government believes that those present at the gathering are part of the Nigerian elite that must play a role to achieve the sustainable development goals.
In her address, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Adejoke Orelope, noted that no country can survive without the private sector.
She challenged the participants to bring their expertise to bear on the achievement of the goals.
The Chairman of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, identified the non-involvement of the private sector as one of the reasons responsible for the non-performance of the millennium development goals.
In their various remarks, Mr Momoh and other sector representatives promised to unleash their experience and arsenals behind the goals.
A traditional ruler in Osun State, the Oloni of Eti-Oni, Oba Dokun Thompson, at the weekend used the Holy Bible to pacify the Land, warning that poverty would persist unless the Land was appeased.
Speaking at the first Cocoa Festival in Africa, the monarch explained that there may have been a curse on the land, following the manner a renowned Yoruba king, Oba Emmanuel Olajide Layode, Soun of Ogbomoso, was killed mercilessly in 1969 during the Agbekoya revolt.
The revolt had occurred following the hike in taxation on cocoa.
Oba Thompson expressed worries that Eti-Oni which pioneered cocoa production in Nigeria was wallowing in abject poverty like many other communities in the country despite having a land of richness.
The monarch noted that the wealth from Cocoa did not manifest in the cocoa producing communities and the people because of the curse. Oba Thompson prayed for an appeasement of the land so that late Oba Layode’s soul may finally rest in peace and for a renaissance of the wealth created in the western region from cocoa in the 60s.
During the cocoa festival, which was tagged ‘Gureje Day’, Oba Thompson raised the Bible that was presented to him by the Christian community in Eti-Oni and showered blessings on the community and the nation.
“This Cocoa Festival was meant to mark the 120 years of cocoa production in Nigeria as pioneered by Eti-Oni. But you would be wondering that this wealthy community was languishing in abject poverty over the years.
“There would be wealth on the land and poverty would vanish when we appease the Land. That was why I sought the intervention of the King of kings who created the Heavens and the Earth,” Oba Thompson said.
The Osile Oke-Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, who was Royal Guest of Honour on the occasion joined his host, Oba Thompson in appeasing the Land and pouring blessings upon Land through the Scriptures.
Speaking on the occasion, Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, reiterated the need to go back to farming as the panacea to the current economic situation caused by dwindling oil revenue.
The governor lauded Oba Thompson for his pragmatic approach in redirecting the attention of the people to profitable cocoa production that would bring maximum gain to the farmers and change the fortune of the people.
Aregbesola, who was represented by the Coordinating Director in the Osun State Ministry of Agriculture, Food Processing and Youth Engagement, Dr. Isaac Aluko promised full support for any initiative geared towards agribusiness.
The governor formally presented the Premium Artisan Eti-Oni Chocolate Brand to the public and also launched the Eti-Oni Model Smart Town which is to be developed in line with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The wife of Nigeria’s Senate President, Mrs Toyin Saraki, says the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations cannot be secured if there is no investment in the capacity of health workers.
Speaking at a National Health Workers’ Training in Abuja on Monday, Mrs Saraki, who is also the president of the Wellbeing Foundation, highlighted that health workers should be given priority because of the role they play in preventing maternal and child mortality.
Mrs Saraki added that proper training of health workers with the latest technology in the health sector would strengthen service delivery.
“Investing in the training and investing in bridging the data divide now to reach the very last mile, which is the expectant mother and her newborn child, is a far better investment that burying 111 Nigerian mothers that die every single day,” she stressed.
The wife of the Senate President further pointed out that the Sustainable Development Goals were within reach but stressed that they could not be secured without investment in the frontline health workers.
“They are best placed to ameliorate risk, prevent morbidity and mortality, provide much needed psycho-social counseling and contribute necessary data for crucial systemic change.
“It must start today and it should start with training our midwives and health workers,” she added.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has challenged African nations to urgently address the problems of poverty and inequality even as the global community focuses on its new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Vice President made the call on Saturday in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, while speaking at a side event hosted by the President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama, on Africa and SDGs at the African Union meeting underway in Kigali, Rwanda.
Osinbajo, who led the Nigerian delegation to the continent-wide meeting told the gathering of Presidents and several Heads of delegations that the whole idea of the SDGs “is really about addressing inequality and poverty.
“The problems are so obvious that however we describe the programme, we really must do something and something urgently.”
He cited the example of the 500 billion Naira social investment programme to address poverty in Nigeria by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
“In Nigeria, in the current budget cycle we have the largest social protection programme in the history of the country. It’s a 500 billion Naira programme (worth over $2.5bn as at the time budget was signed).
“Basically we are looking at lifting many out of poverty, of course many are familiar with the size of the Nigerian state and we have close to hundred and ten million people who are poor and about two-tenth are in extreme poverty.
“So it is a very huge problem and part of what we are trying to do is to look at how not just to empower people but also to ensure that what they are given is sustainable.
“For the women, we are doing a programme, micro-credit programme for a million market women and artisans.
“All would be given facilities, training facilities as well to enable them to be able to do some work for themselves and to continue to be able to live.
“And we think that giving this micro-credit loan to women is to make sure that they handle money better and do a much better work on the whole,” he said.
Poorest Of The Poor
Professor Osinbajo hinted that Nigeria would offer the Conditional Cash Transfer to women, especially the less privileged whom he said were difficult to identify.
“In the case of Conditional Cash Transfer, again we are handing these to women. We are giving (this to) another million, to the poorest of the poor.
“In determining who the poorest is, we had problems on that, but we have very good assistance from the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation. They helped in trying to map the really poor,” he said.
Wife of the Oyo State Governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi has called for proper enforcement of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015.
Mrs Ajimobi made this call while addressing women on the urgent need to totally eradicate Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, in the state in commemoration of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
The wife of the Governor noted that with the passage of the bill on violence against persons into law which contains the provision for prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation, the onus is on everyone to ensure that the harmful practice is totally stopped.
Mrs Ajimobi, while stating the effects of the traditional practice, explained that victims of FGM suffer a great deal socially, psychologically, physically and emotionally as well as sexually.
To this end, she urged all to ensure that the menace of FGM, which is one of the key elements of the fifth United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, is never again mentioned in the Nigerian society.
She also called for continuous education and adequate information dissemination on the dangers inherent in the practice and the sanctions available to those who refuse to desist from it.
“We must speak and make our voices heard, that we no longer want our women to suffer in the hands of traditional surgeons with their scalpel of death.
“We must stop propagating the deadly gospel and join hands together to see to it that we fight this battle till we reach zero level,” she said.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday in New York, reaffirmed his administration’s total commitment to the entrenchment of a fully transparent and accountable public revenue management system in Nigeria.
Addressing the United Nations (UN) Plenary Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, President Buhari said that his administration was taking steps to improve and streamline internal generation of revenue, and to plug all loopholes that have led to illicit capital flight from Nigeria.
According to a statement released by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President told the gathering that his government was also putting mechanisms in place to prevent oil theft and other criminal practices that are detrimental to the nation’s economy.
Applauding the adoption of the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda, President Buhari said that he was very pleased with the world leaders’ reaffirmation of their commitment to sustainable development, international peace and security, and the protection of the planet.
He said: “These are really the major issues of the day. For the first time, we have at our disposal a framework that is universal in scope and outlook, with clearly defined goals and targets, and appropriately crafted methods of implementation.
“The Declaration that we have adopted today testifies to the urgency and the necessity for action by all of us. It is not for want of commitment that previous initiatives have failed or could not be fully realized.
“What seemed to be lacking in the past were political will and the required global partnership to pursue and implement the programmes to which we committed ourselves.
“This Declaration enjoys global consensus. We have agreed to deliver as one and to leave no one behind. This is a promise worth keeping.
“We have agreed to create viable partnerships and to adopt the means of implementation for the goals and targets of the global sustainable development agenda in all its three dimensions; namely economic, social and environmental.
“The Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) together with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda that we adopted in July 2015, offer us a unique opportunity to address the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“They also provide the basis for a new set of global development priorities to usher in a peaceful and prosperous world, where no one is left behind, and where the freedom from fear and want, and for everyone to live in dignity, is enthroned,” he added.
Noting that illiteracy, hunger and diseases are associated evils that go hand in hand with poverty, the President urged the assembled world leaders to do everything possible “to eliminate these ills from our midst by 2030 as the Declaration loudly proclaims”.
“The bottom billion that has neither safety nets nor social protection, need to be rescued from their perpetual state of hopelessness, fear and indignity. This is a task that should have been accomplished decades ago. Now that it has fallen on our shoulders to discharge this responsibility, we should do so with the enthusiasm and commitment that is worthy of the cause.
“We must adopt targeted interventions at both policy and practical levels, to address extreme poverty and combat illiteracy, hunger and diseases.
“We must create viable partnerships that bring together national, regional and global actors with shared objectives to carry this forward.
“We must also create the enabling environments for executing this global agenda, by developing the relevant frameworks for working with different types of partners and constituencies that recognize the contributions of civil society, religious and cultural bodies, private sector, academia and most importantly, governments,” President Buhari said.
The President further said that Nigeria was proud to have availed her services to the UN in co-chairing the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, whose work contributed in no small measure to the expansion of financing for development strategies.
The United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, has commended the Nigerian government for interrupting polio transmission in the last one year.
Nigeria recently celebrated one year without a new polio case, but will be certified by the World Health Organization in 2017 if there is no new case of polio transmission before then.
Mr Ban made the commendation on Monday when he visited a neighbourhood Immunisation Centre in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
He promised to rally global support for Nigeria’s efforts to attain a polio free status by the year 2017.
The United Nations Secretary General was in Nigeria on a two-day official visit, where he addressed issues centred on health, human rights, security and climate change.
At a meeting with business leaders on Monday he stressed the need for global support for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations which would be discussed at a meeting in Paris later in the year.
The United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, on Monday laid wreath at the bomb site of the United Nation’s building in Abuja attacked by the Boko Haram terrorists in 2011.
After laying the wreath, Mr Ban Ki-moon urged the UN workers not to be discouraged by the bombing, but to remain committed to their job for the advancement of humanity.
At the UN building in Nigeria’s capital city, he condemned acts of extremism by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“Terrorism must be brought to an end not only in Nigeria but the world over so that peace could reign again among the peoples,” the UN Secretary General said.
The commemoration was part of the activities lined up for the UN Secretary General who is in Nigeria on an official visit.
On August 26, 2011 a car bomb explosion at the UN building left at least 21 persons dead and 60 wounded.
The Boko Haram sect claimed responsibility for the attack.
In the second day of the official visit, the UN Secretary General will visit health units and immunisation centre in Garki area of Abuja to further assess Nigeria’s efforts towards the actualisation of the Millennium Development Goals.
Part of the activities for Monday is a dialogue and lunch with Nigerian Business actors under the theme “The role of Nigerian Business and Economy in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and addressing Climate Change”.
The highpoint of Mr Ki-moon’s visit will be his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, which will be rounded off with a joint press conference.
There will also be a dinner hosted by President Buhari in honour of the esteemed guest.
Era Of Sustainability
After his arrival on Sunday, Mr Ban urged state governors in Nigeria to use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are billed to be adopted by world leaders at a UN Summit in September, as the basis for governance in Nigeria’s new era of leadership.
He said Nigeria occupies a central place in the comity of nations and the government at the state level play a crucial role in realising the developmental aspirations of the people.
“Here in Nigeria, you know the challenges all too well –- including the rise of extremism and the lack of equal opportunity.
“I know this is a deep and vital challenge in particular for the governors of the northeast… This is also a time of hope. I want to commend you and all of Nigeria’s leaders for the peaceful democratic transition of power,” he told Nigerian governors at a private meeting.
The UN Secretary General said state governments were crucial to this new era of sustainability which Nigeria could not afford to take for granted.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, on Monday stressed the need for government, private sector and civil society to work together for the actualisation of the 15 years Sustainable Development Goals target.
Mr Ban was speaking in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, in a meeting with business and philanthropy leaders.
He told the gathering that the Sustainable Development Goals had 17 sustainable development course, which was the UN partway for the next 15 years, targeting 2030.
According to him, one more supporting priority was financing for development, which he stressed that no matter how much vision a country or business owner had, it would not succeed without financial and technological support.
The UN Secretary General stressed that an action plan tagged ‘Adis Abba Action Agenda’ had been established, as a financial technological framework to support technological growth.
“It is significantly important in Nigeria with the exemplary transfer of power that the leaders must work to grow the economy and counter the threat of terrorism. They are complex challenges, but not unique to Nigeria only.
“Business community and philanthropy has an important role to grow the economy.
“While the government has the primary responsibility to foster an environment for peace and justice, sustainable development and philanthropy also have a critical one.
“This is an inclusive global partnership, among government, business communities, private sector and civil society,” he stated.
Mr Ban further said that without the ‘tripartite partnership’, “however good a vision or policy is, they cannot be realised”.
“No country or institution can solve the challenges on its own. Private sector and civil society power must be harnessed.
“We need to build an inclusive global partnership with a mutual accountability and fair share of responsibilities.
“We must leverage our comparative strength, capacities and resources to achieve a meaningful result”.
Passport For Success
He pointed out that a combination of good governance, good policies, an active and inclusive global partnership with the private sector, was a passport for success.
“Whether you are a company, foundation or government, you thrive when society thrives.
“You lose amidst poverty, disease, inequality, conflict, illiteracy, abuse of human rights, poor governance and corruptions.
“There is also an increasing understanding that economic growth and social progress work hand in hand and result in peaceful society,” he further stressed.
Leaders of different nations will meet in December in Paris to adopt for the first time, a universal and ambitious Climate Change Agreement.
Mr Ban stressed the need for the government and private sector to put people and the planet in the centre of whatever they do.
He urged the business leaders to discuss and come forward with their challenges and how the UN could assist them achieve needed growth.