By Adile Iroajugh
Sustainability has been variously adjudged as complex, personal and too diverse, depending on individuals, groups and communities views of the kind of future they want to leave behind for the next generations. Because our current national growth strategy is not inclusive, we can no longer assumed that our collective actions will not trigger increasing social disparities and inequalities, risky and irreversible damage to the environment as well as repeated cycle of youth involvement in violent conflict and terrorism.
Every nation in the world today that is experiencing significant national growth has well defined policy of inclusiveness as key strategy for sustainable growth. Nigerian leaders can no longer claim ignorance of the interdependence of national systems, human, social, environmental as well as economic in determining sustainability of national development. It is time Nigerian leaders do away with all is well hypes in the media and coordinate efforts to identify at what point the nation deviated from the sustainability path. It is time the nation reassesses factors dragging adoptions and implementations of the sustainable development goals in Nigeria. The earlier this is done the better positioned we are to return to path of sustainability.
Considering Nigeria’s current social disparities and inequalities, risky and irreversible damage to the environment as well as incessant cycle of youth involvement in violent conflict and terrorism, we cannot help but wonder if a sustainable Nigeria is possible? How would implementation of the sustainable development goals help to usher in human, environmental, economic as well as social transformations in the long run? How would the current administration of President Mohammadu Buhari drive implementation of a policy of inclusiveness with effective grassroots participation, women empowerment and youth involvement as top priorities?
The President Buhari led fight against corruption is very commendable and a bold step to return the nation on the sustainability path. But despite the giant stride made in recent days, on this fight, the efforts are incapable of returning the nation wholly on the sustainability path because it is barely part of the means and not an end on the nation’s journey to sustainable development. Understanding of this fact will spur the President Buhari led administration to other national systems challenges, socially, environmentally and economically that must be addressed by this administration to fast track sustainable development in Nigeria. The current and future government in Nigeria needs to work with increase consciousness that everything is connected and therefore, the needs to create integrated and holistic approach for solving our common national challenges.
A key responsibility of the President Buhari led government is to formulate a future focused sustainability blue print to drive the nation’s transition to inclusive growth. We need a sustainability blue print that will spur our generation to look beyond resolving our current challenges to taking responsibility for the destiny of the future generations. This calls for serious measure in prioritizing what matters and new ways of measuring development beyond GDP. This demands level assessment for all national challenges – corruption and insurgency (violent conflict & terrorism), environmental degradation and climate change as well as food and water scarcity. This demand increase investment in sustainable technologies, health care, education to build more resilient and equitable society.
The global world is moving very fast and nations are aligning their potentials and commitment to localizing global policies. Our dear President Mohammadu Buhari has participated in more than seven international forums that aimed at strengthening global sustainability since he took up leadership in May 2015. Previous administrations participated in far more international forums without applying the knowledge acquired in advancing our national sustainability. Hope this administration will not assume as did previous administrations that strategic implementation of the national sustainability missions is a top-down based approach. This assumption never move any nation forwards, rather it is the basis for increasing corruption in all strata of governance in countries that got wrong side of the sustainability mission implementation strategy, including Nigeria. This administration should be reminded that most United Nations development strategies are formulated to lift up grassroots or local people and work best in bottom-up implementation approach. The global sustainability mission is therefore grassroots focused and it must be grassroots driven and implemented to lead us to the shared vision of ‘the future we want.