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AGENDA FOR A SUSTAINABLE NIGERIA

By Adile Iroajugh

The President Muhammadu Buhari led government may be waiting for a development or social change expert, may be a Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former Chair of the UN Commission on Environment and Development to score our current development before accepting that it is unsustainable. In about three months the President would be celebrating one year since he won the Presidential election – but for the ongoing head hunt for fellow corrupt politicians, it would be very difficult to identify any other efforts by Mr. President to advance social change and development the last one year.

Beyond the All Progressive Party (APC) popular ‘Change’ slogan, which revolutionaries Nigeria electoral systems in the 2015 national elections; it is now more obvious for Nigerians and development experts that the party never articulated a blue-print for the promised change before they won the elections. The implication of this grievous omission or negligence is the current reality of tough-time across the country and the speed at which every aspect of our existence as a nation is becoming unsustainable. Our current realities therefore, have thrown up the need for a sustainable change agenda, a well-articulated all inclusive roadmap for social change and development and a guide on what Nigerians should expect from the government in the coming years.

We urgently need to do away with the ‘APC-Change’ euphoria and the ongoing Çhange-Propaganda’ – to a reality of what sustainable social change and development truly demands. We need to consciously assess where we are now? Reflect on how we got here? Project where we are going? And define what we must do now to reach there? All key instruments of governance and institutions must retract from mere ‘change propaganda’ exemplified in the defeating of resilient insurgents in the media, while killing of our brothers, sister, gallant soldiers and destruction of communities continues. It is also exemplified in media reports of recovered billions of looted funds, while more Nigerians cross down poverty line daily as well as recent cover up for obvious inability of government to produce a transparent national budget. Reflecting on these and more activities of government in the last eight months, I strongly recommends to the administration of President Buhari to set an inclusive commission on sustainable development to deliberate and recommend sustainable social change and development agenda that will fast-track 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. Successful world leaders rely on the enabling insight of development framework in resolving local and global development challenges. Recall the single impact of the reports of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development –‘Our Common Future’ in driving global development and social change. The most interesting aspect of this report is it flexible implementation strategy, which has made it easy for successive UN administrations to continue implementing the reports. The success of every development framework is it popular acceptance, it implementation flexibility and enabling constitutions mandating successive government to continue implementing the framework.

Nigeria have come to the point that policy summersault is considered detrimental to attainment of sustainable development.   We now need a shift of focus from who formulated a development policy or framework to strongly focus on what the policies or framework is set out to achieve.  The failure of most development frameworks in Nigeria is the regimented focus of past government in formulating policies or framework that is a single administration focused. Therefore, all past government in Nigeria has formulated national development framework which implementation was limited to the administration’s term in power. No succeeding government in Nigeria has ever worked to build on the successes of the previous one. This obvious lack of continuity in government development policy or framework is currently a major setback in government efforts to build sustainable Nigeria.

The popular UN framework for inclusive global development, ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ has passed through successful implementation of more than two UN Secretary Generals, and  only minors adjustment changes to meet new global challenges, why the original intention is sustained. One therefore, wonders why a sustainable social change and 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 development milestone recorded in the implementation of the framework by succeeding government. Unless current leaders are able to overcome their mediocrity in acknowledging previous government development efforts, Nigeria will continue to trail behind world nations in measureable sustainable national development.

Nigerians want to see change beyond arrest or detaining of key opposition leaders for alleged corruptions and other offences. President Muhammadu Buhari own Nigeria a duty to usher in the much expected change. We hope the President will extend his bold efforts in curbing corruptions to other key areas of National Development. We need at least a 15 years sustainable social change and development agenda to return the country to assure a sustainable Nigeria. The current APC led administration should priority building policies and development frameworks that are future focused. As the President joins other world leaders in affirming global development frameworks, he must be aware that these frameworks are focused to building a better future for all. Nigerians desire a better future and we are hopeful that the current government of President Buhari will be so determined to lead us to shared vision of the future we want – a sustainable Nigeria.

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