NIGERIA: THE FATE OF A LOCAL NATION IN A GLOBAL WORLD
The best way to predict the future is to design it; you have a gold mine when you have a goal mind. We are living in a global world where it is relatively impossible to feature in a future that we cannot picture. In the face of the dwindling oil fortune, it has become imperative for all stakeholders in the nation to have a round-table discussion on how we can redesign Nigeria to fit into the global picture. Charles C. Noble once said, “You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failure”.
On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These included ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, fighting inequality and injustice, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.
The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. The SDGs follow and expand on the millennium development goals (MDGs), which were agreed by governments in 2001 but expired at the end of 2015. The SDGs were unanimously adopted by the UN’s 193 Member States at an historic summit in September 2015. At the summit, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people; they are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”
The 17 goals will provide a road map that will help the world achieve sustainable development. In every country, these ambitious and transformative goals will ultimately and actively involve a broad coalition involving the government, the citizens, civil society organizations, the private sector, philanthropists and multilaterals. We must all come together to define our destination and also scrutinize the goals and methodologies needed to get there. A destination undefined cannot be reached.
“The greatest tragedy of life is not that we set high aims and miss it but that we set low aims and reach it”-Michelangelo We cannot remain the giant of Africa while we are still myopic in terms of goal setting! We must be pacesetters when it comes to aligning with global goals. The simple reason why Nigeria has remained in the league of developing nations is still because we have in an unholy way tinkered with global goals. Our education sector is in a sorry state simply because we have never adapted and aligned with the standards set by UN through UNDP on the percentage of budgetary allocation for education and other pertinent sectors of the economy. We can never be globally relevant until we come together to see how our various ministries, parastatals, institutions at the federal, state and local levels can integrate the global goals into their plans for the future. We need to redesign Nigeria to be globally relevant in the face of a changing world.
The drift of the Nigerian economy to total dependence on the oil sector has polluted our priorities and blinded us to several opportunities that can be afforded in the Nigerian economy. Our overdependence on the oil fortune has placed the destiny of the nation in the hands of corrupt-minded Nigerians. Our institutions and structures have become too obsolete and archaic in the eyes of a global world.
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for” – Anonymous
Nigeria is not in isolation; Nigeria cannot develop in isolation. If Africa, of which Nigeria is a staunch representative, will still be relevant in the future, then our target should be to streamline our local and indigenous goals to align with global standards. It is poignant to note that modern civilization started in Africa (Egypt to be specific), the first form of writing called Hieroglyphics emanated from Africa, the Pyramids at Giza in Egypt is such an architectural masterpiece that it has become one of the seven wonders of the world. The art of medicine in Egypt can be vividly seen in how they embalm their dead in a way that is still awe-inspiring to the modern medical world.
Africa was once at the helms of civilization but gradually we began to degenerate spirally in a manner that is unprecedented in the fall of civilizations. Today Africa is in shackles of her own crude mentality. Our leaders have become agents of mass corruption. Corruption has rendered our structural institutions impotent, our education sector is in dilapidated shambles, peace has become elusive even in serene savannahs of the continent, poverty is now the second nature of an average Africa man, the citizens are now the victims of a deteriorated health sector while the leaders ‘elope’ with their families abroad for the best of medical attention.
Sustainable development is the development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is the kind of development that does not jeopardize the future. The discovery of oil in Oloibiri, eastern Nigeria in 1956, has ironically become the doom of the Niger Delta region. The proceeds from the Nigerian oil have actually been used in ‘lubricating’ classical corruption and impunity in the present Nigeria. The exploration of oil was done with massive impunity to the extent that the region was environmentally degraded without the thought of the consequences on future generations. I was so much fascinated knowing that the federal government has designed a form of environmental remediation in the Niger Delta starting with the Ogoni clean-up project.
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
We must all be advocates for the sustainable development goals; we must act responsibly and educate people in our sphere of influence to live responsibly. We must also design a way to measure our progress so that the 2030 target will not just be like a mirage. I believe strongly that together we can build a better world and a brighter future. Let us all chart a dignified future for all people in all countries. Let us stop our myopic way of living; let us key into the big picture. The federal government must create at least the conducive atmosphere for the global goals to thrive. We must encourage innovative thinking from the citizens. We must design a strong monitoring system to provide feedbacks on the progress of implementation of the global goals. The time to act is now!
“If you don’t know where you are going, you can never get lost”-Herb Cohen
When you are too busy to plan, you will be too easy to be disorganized. Strategic planning for the future is the most hopeful indication of our increasing social intelligence and I will be using the next few weeks to reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the federal ministers, Attorney General of the federation, Inspector General of Police, special advisers, members of the National Assembly and state House of Assemblies, state governors, state commissioners and all stakeholders to be globally compliant with these audacious goals. We may be local geographically but we must be global in expression.
Next week, I will start with two of the most important of the 17 global goals: No Poverty; Zero Hunger. Poverty and hunger have become the dark African twins ravaging Nigeria and Africa as a whole. How can we tackle this nefarious ill in Nigeria and the African continent? Is it possible to end this economical ill by 2030 or at least alleviate it?
*To learn more on how you can get involved in these global goals, you can go to www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment.