By Adile Iroajugh

Beyond the All Progressive Party (APC) popular slogan ‘Change’, which revolutionized Nigeria’s electoral systems in the 2015 national elections; there is urgent need for a sustainable change agenda to drive Nigerians expectation in the coming years. We urgently need to do away with the current change euphoria from the aftermath of the 2015 election to a point of reality of what sustainable change truly demands. We need to consciously assess where we are now? Where we are going? And when we expect to reach there? All government key instruments of governance and institutions must retract from the ongoing ‘change propaganda’ to work together in formulating a national sustainable change agenda. A well-articulated sustainable change agenda by the current administration and commitment to follow through the implementation process is a roadmap for the desired change Nigerians clamour for.

The world is fast changing with new and interconnected challenges emerging every day. It will be foolhardy to assume we can solve today’s national challenges with yesterday’s solutions. The global World is coming up with new policies and strategies as new challenges emerge. More often in recent years World leaders have realized the enabling power of articulated framework in resolving global challenges. The reports of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development –‘Our Common Future’, the Agenda 21, Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals where all formulated to drive development within a specified target period. The success of each global development target framework is the focus on it achievement rather than who is implementing it. The failure of most development frameworks in Nigeria is our regimented focus on who is implementing is rather than its attainment of set objectives. So every successive administrations in Nigeria has formulated national development framework which implementation was limited to the administration’s time in power. No succeeding national development framework in Nigeria has ever strife to build on the successes of the previous one. The lack of continuity in implementation of national development framework is a major setback in our in our journey to sustainable national development.

For instance, the UN framework for an inclusive global development is currently under implementation supervision of a third generation Secretary General and is reviewed periodically to cover emerging development challenges. One wonders, why a sustainable national development framework for Nigeria is experiencing leadership summersault. It is therefore time we look forward beyond the motives of an incumbent government in formulating a national development framework to evaluating national development milestone recorded in the implementation of the framework. Unless our leaders are able to overcome this mediocrity, Nigeria would continue to trail behind other world nations in measureable sustainable national development.

The President Mohammadu Buhari led administration owes Nigerians a great responsibility to take the much celebrated change beyond political party slogan. The change that Nigeria needs now is a future focused sustainable national development framework. A key area of concern in formulating another development framework for Nigerians is how to make it future focused and adoptable by future governments. Transition of a national development framework, policy or strategy from one government to another government has been a major setback for sustainable development in Nigeria. Recently, Nigerians took bold steps for change and the change awareness has raised expectations of Nigerians, even at the grassroots level. The expectation of Nigerians now is a more inclusive national development framework to ignite development at the human, social, environmental and economic spheres. This is a bold expectations for sustainable development, it si a bold demand for the future we want.

As a recommendation, the key terms of reference for any sustainable national development framework and strategy in Nigeria would include among other several demands to help define our shared perceptions of long-term social, economic and environmental issues and the appropriate efforts needed to deal successfully with the problems, protecting and enhancing the environment, humans and the economy; a long term national development framework for actions during the coming decades and aspirational goals for the 36 states and the FCT. These self-paraphrased recommended terms of reference guided the formulation of the revolutionary report ‘our common future’, agenda 21 and the expanded sustainable development goals.

Nigerians and the government needs to reassess commitment to mitigate human and environmental degradation; climate change and biodiversity, unsustainable lifestyles and consumption/production practices as well as the impact of population growth. As Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland ones observed that the only durable solutions to today’s crisis are those that also position us technologically, socially and politically to solve our long return problems, and that means finding opportunity and summoning the resources to make the most out of them. And as long as our national development is unsustainable, we can no longer assume that our collective actions will not trigger depletion of the environmental, irreversible damage to both ecosystems and the human communities.

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