South-East 2023: Applying the SDGs

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The prescriptions behind the SDGs drew from a global body of knowledge and the lessons of the Millennium Development Goals. All the 191 member states of the UN system agreed to achieve the eight goals by 2015. As with the SDGs, the MDGs dealt more with the challenges of the Third World, yet countries therein failed to attain the targets due to lack of diligent application by governments and absence of citizen awareness and engagement. Those eight goals were the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; achievement of universal primary education; promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and reduction of child mortality. Others were to improve maternal health; to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability, and to develop a global partnership for development.

Nigeria failed with the MDGs. However, we have the testimony of one of our former governors of the application of the MDGS in the development template and the results it yielded. Applying the SDGs, now 17 targets instead of eight, should enable the South East states and region fast track development. One advantage is global benchmarking rather than local standards.

The SDGs are interdependent. One influences the other and leads to improvements in each area in a mutually reinforcing circle of virtuousness.

SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Citizens of the South East must wake up to the changing dynamics of our habitations. The romantic notion of our villages is changing. They are not pristine; many are now unsafe and unsustainable. We are falling into the pattern of the rest of Africa. Non-agricultural activities such as manufacturing and industrialisation are the basis for the organisation of urban centres. Unfortunately, with de-industrialisation, our urban centres are hermaphrodites. Urbanisation is catching up … Read More...

Mission 2023: Applying the SDGs in the South East (2)

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We ended last week on SDG5. More importantly, thanks to many readers who responded to say they enjoyed it despite the seriousness of the matter. There is much information available on the SDGs. involved, dear reader. Learn how to focus that WhatsApp group and other platforms to be part of the solution

Universities in the South East should rise to the challenge of educating citizens about the SDGs and their implementation. No fewer than 14 universities across the world have developed curricula to drive knowledge of the SDGS. None from Africa. We are helping to mainstream the SDGs, so it does not suffer the fate of the MDGs in our land.

SDG6: Availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation.

Sanitation is a growing challenge. Onitsha and Aba continuously feature among cities with the worst sanitation status in Africa. Governments in the region need to device sustainable waste management policies and practices. Communities, NGOs and individuals should also get into the business of converting waste to wealth sustainably. Water, too, requires bold measures. The every-compound-a-borehole current practice will not suffice given the low water levels.

Water links to agriculture. Whatever happened to the River Basin Authorities in the region? What have they done lately? With the integration, the region should consider irrigation schemes urgently to push agriculture.

SDG7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

From the initial attempt to “ring-fence” Aba by an entrepreneur to the “captive power” schemes of the Rural Electrification Agency, the region has worked hard in efforts to get steady power. A key goal circa 2023 should be stable and sustainable electricity. Take advantage of the various policy options available through NERC. Focus on renewables and alternative energy: … Read More...

The next four years: Applying the SDGs in the South East

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With citizen engagement, the Sustainable Development Goals can take shape and life for our communities and states. The South East can plug in, from State to Local Governments, towns unions and voluntary associations focused on the development of the region.

Here are the Sustainable Development Goals. They offer SMART objectives and are scalable. They provide a comprehensive compass for states and governments intent on development.

1. End poverty and all its forms everywhere. The World Poverty Clock showed in June 2018 that 86.9m Nigerians live in extreme poverty. The South East states do well on a national comparison, but that is like saying we are the tallest men in Lilliput. Poverty incidence in the region is as follows: Abia, 21.0%; Anambra 11.2%; Ebonyi, 56.0%; Enugu, 28.8% and Imo 19.8%. We must get all the states under 10% as a minimum in four years.

2. Endhunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.SDG 2 is linked to SDG 1 and is critical for our region. Food security comes from increased and sustainable production. Prof Chinedu Agbodike is leading a one-man campaign to involve investors and communities in cultivating all idle lands in the region. Abia State provided seedlings and oil palm for cultivation. More people need to join Agbodike to move the campaign beyond traditional farming to large scale ventures and agro-processing. State governments should incentivise agripreneurs in the region to do what the Israelis did: the application of science and technology to improve agricultural practices and output. Time to test this alleged consanguinity with Israel that is a popular belief!

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. An objective that encompasses all the others.

4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities Read More...

The next four years in the South East-2

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A new political cycle commenced May 29 in the country and especially in four of the five states that make up the South East geopolitical zone. High expectations follow the new and returning governors for the period up to May 2023. After four cycles of administrative changes, citizens want to see development in its purest form in the region. They experienced some of that in the past under administrations with even fewer resources and rightfully expected that it should happen in the area given global developments.

Development is the focus of citizens in the South East. OkwudibaNnoli and the scholars on development posit that development is about the capacity of a people to tackle and overcome the challenges that the political, social and economic conditions throw at them. It is not about the number of different gadgets available but the amount of real problem-solving deploying indigenous resources, most notably human capital.

The new era comes with many features. The first is the evolving political configuration. Officially, the political structure of the region equates that of others with authority levels at State, Local Government and Wards. In reality, there are many other layers of real authority with the capacity for citizen mobilisation and engagement. They also could be deployed for positives or negatives.

The land of self-help has many towns unions, with spurs all over the country and beyond, as the active power at the grassroots. Disenchantment with poor representation and performance of governments has led in the social media age to the emergence of several groups, all aiming at the development of the motherland. They number anywhere from 20 to 50.

Each of the many groups on social media takes their roles seriously as advocacy platforms and offer rosy pictures of what they can do for … Read More...

The next four years in the South East-1

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From May 29, most governments in Nigeria would earn a Begin Again as they prepare for a four-year life programme. It takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree that serves as a ticket for life for most citizens. What would the governments of the South East be able to do for their citizens in four years?

Four years is a significant period. In four years, the late De Sam Mbakwe accomplished so much in the old Imo State in education (Imo State University), agriculture, rural industrialisation, infrastructure of water schemes and electricity and more. Chief Jim Nwobodo did the same in Anambra State with the first state university of technology where Professor Mobisson led a team to develop home grown computers. In Lagos, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande laid the foundation of today’s Lagos. I was recently at a retreat in Badagry and just as we drove in, I told my colleagues this must be a Jakande legacy. So it was: a well-laid out rest house with ample groundsto which the government is adding a hotel with conferencing facilities.

What would happen in the South East? We will be tackling this question here. Ahead of that, readers on social media have been pointing me to our thoughts last year as the foundation for this fresh thinking. I thought therefore to refresh and then go forward.

Exploring and activating The Awka Exposition
Many challenges confront the South East as Nigeria approaches the 20th year of its Fourth Republic. It is essential in the view of this column to tackle first the internal matters rather than the focus on the external that has characterised engagement on the Igbo challenge. For the Igbo today and into the foreseeable future, charity must begin at home.

We have noted that …