Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has appealed to African leaders to join the rest of the world in the faithful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that was recently rolled out after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was wound down. Obi made the call at the World Conference Centre, Bonn, Germany, during the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development Goals that ended on Saturday.
Obi said that a careful perusal of the MDGs and SDGs would show that they were simply a cocktail of measures designed by members of the United Nations to make the world a better place. This, he noted, would be achieved by getting nations of the world to key into development trajectories that would lift nations out of poverty into prosperity and development by focusing majorly on human capital development through improvement in education.
Obi regretted that African countries have not taken seriously to those goals. He pointed to its success in countries like China as a clear proof that with hard work and commitment, African leaders could as well succeed. He called on African leaders to work together in positive collaboration towards achieving those goals, insisting that working together achieves more for nations than working in isolation.
Using China’s achievement in the MDGs and her commitment towards the SDGs as an example for African leaders, Obi said China’s successful integration of MDGs into its national development planning, with effective and coordinated implementation from national to local governments, helped the country to achieve an unprecedented transformative result.
“Using the three most critical Goals: lifted 439 million people out of poverty; achieved universal basic education ahead of schedule; and made tremendous improvements in health care for women & children, and disease prevention and control,” he said.
To drive home his point, he equally summarised how African fared thus: “In contrast, within this period in Africa, there was drastic under-performance in the three critical Goals: Poverty rose from 290 million to 414 million persons; Less than 70% was achieved in universal basic education; the number of under-nourished children rose from 27 million to 32 million.”
The former Governor, who featured at the event as an expert speaker, called on African leaders to change the narratives through commitment.
Reeling out what he did in Anambra towards achieving the MDGs as an example, Obi talked about how the South-East Governors at that time worked with the Federal Ministry of Environment and the World Bank to develop the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), which is checking erosion on various erosion sites across the seven participating states. He also talked about how the return of schools to the Church, which was followed by adequate funding, changed the narratives in Anambra State.
It would be recalled that Anambra was adjudged the best state in the implementation of the MDGs, which led the United Nations to invite Mr. Obi to deliver a paper during their global conference in New York.