Delta Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, has decried the inability of Nigeria to meet targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), saying there had been inconsistencies in governments’ commitment to the programme.
Speaking when the Presidential Management Team of SDGs led by its Coordinator, Dr. Albashir Ibrahim, visited him in Asaba, on Wednesday, the governor challenged authorities charged with the discharge of the programme to show more commitment, noting that the targets were achievable with dedication and consistency in drive.
According to him, we need to begin to work a lot more than we are doing at the moment if we are going to actually walk the talk, because many times we start goals that we do not finish.
Okowa said, “for instance, we started with Millennium Development Goals and now we have moved to SDGs, we will set targets for ourselves as a nation then we are not able to meet up and in the end, we do not seem to have a clear analysis of how we meet out targets and that in itself is a challenge,
“As a nation, I believe that all hope is not lost even if we are still behind. We can still remain consistently constructive and committed to whatever we do so that we are able to actually change the narrative.
“It is not going to take one year or one tenure to achieve change, but the important thing all of us can continue to do is to develop that love and passion for our country so that everybody that comes will continue to build on the good things the previous person may have laid a foundation for.
“Yes, some mistakes have been made along the line but we need to continually build and remain focused on the goals and I think that that is very important for us.
“There is still a lot to be done in this nation and we need to find ways of eradicating hunger; getting ways to educate our people because they are interwoven in one way or the other; we need to look at problems critically and that is going to involve getting people to be interested in development and the government has to support them.
“We need to re-work our educational system and create better funding for educational sector to make it more attractive and ensure that our children are focused; we need to look at the curriculum and many others.
“We need to grow jobs; creating the enabling environment for industries to grow is becoming a true problem considering the insecurity challenges that exist across the country; so, there are a lot of challenges but we must not be down about them.’’
The governor, however, expressed optimism that the country could still continue to realistically solve the problems with sincerity and ensure that Nigeria was taken out of the challenges.
He flayed the existing situation in the country where “we put all our hopes on the oil economy and I think that it is a problem, because over the years we have only depended on oil which led to the abandonment of the agricultural sector.
“Now, it is going to take time to get the necessary support for agriculture and bring us to where we ought to be because the oil economy has taken all the attention and unfortunately the oil sector does not create the kind of job opportunity that is open to everyone and with poor management it still creates jobs that are too technical.
“I am glad that through the SDGs there is now a voice of advocacy so that we can begin to grow; the advocacy voice needs to be louder than it is at the moment and the issue should become more and more visible nationally.
“This monitoring visit is one more way to get the advocacy voice louder; it will let you all know what is going on and that creates a bonding between chief executives and the office of the SDGs so that the chief executives will be reminded on things we need to do in terms of partnership and I think that will make things work.
“A lot is being done in the state but looking at the challenges on ground a lot more can be done.’’
He disclosed that the state government was emphasizing technical education and trying to get the youths back into agriculture, adding that the government was driving the ideas with a lot of passion and creating various partnerships and mentoring programmes to help the youths to be trained to achieve their goals.
“We have set up various empowerment programmes for youths, women and children and the need to be able to bring up the younger females in our society whom are being neglected is paramount to us.
“While it is good that we want to achieve set goals of the SDGs, we need to work out processes that we can be committed to and being able to develop that committed way is important.
“We can no longer procrastinate because we may think that there is still time but we need to start to work now; we have had vision 2020 and now we are in the year and nothing has changed. A new target of 2030 has been set and 2030 is not far away.
“So, we need to work now because the greatest challenge that we face is that our population is growing astronomically faster than the economy can handle; we need to be honest with ourselves; face reality and see that we need to make changes to make our nation better,” he stated.
Earlier, Ibrahim had in his speech rated the government of Delta high in achieving results with the development goals, noting that the achievements could be traced to the track records of the governor in achieving desired results in whatever his activities are.
He hinted that the governor had deservedly earned an award from the national office of SDGs for his developmental efforts, and announced that the award would be given to the governor in a ceremony to be organized soon.