By Akombo Aondona
A coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) led by Ebaidebeki Initiative has staged a walk in Abuja to sensitise residents of the Nigerian capital city on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The NGOs staged the walk on Saturday 18 February, 2023 with a view to educating Abuja residents on the 17 SDGs and how they can play a role in achieving them in Nigeria.
Addressing journalists during the walk, Co- Founder, Ebaidebeki Initiative and Leader, “Walk for SDGs 2030”, Ebaide Omiunu, said the idea was initiated to educate the people on their civic responsibilities as citizens of Nigeria on what to do to achieve the SDGs before the 2030 target.
Omiunu urged Nigerians to elect leaders that can eradicate poverty in the country and achieve SDGs 2030 targets in the upcoming 2023 General Election.
Omiunu said: “In 2015, United Nations (UN) founded these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030) and the idea was for the 17 goals which have been highlighted today, to ensure that countries commit themselves to achieving some level of progress through the set target in each of the goal. The 17 goals have 169 target. If countries adopt the target, the idea is by 2030 Nigeria and indeed the world will be more prosperous. There will be no poverty, no hunger, etc. So these are the ideas for the goals. They are to ensure that there is development, prosperity and no one is left behind, including people living with disabilities (PWDs) the girl-child, the man on the street, market sellers, etc.”
On the Abuja walk, Omiunu explained: “The idea is also to educate people on what to do as citizens of the country. Before you leave your house, switch off the sockets, don’t litters the roads, don’t throw things into the rivers, to try to live decently as human beings. These are the messages and the some of the SDG goals. They concern you and I as citizens. It does not matter who you are. You have a duty to do them so that by 2030 we can achieve these sustainable development goals. Every individual must play their part.”
Also, Awale Uzochukwudinma Utakpor, from the SDGs THURSDAY Network said: “These SDGs are 17 goals set up by the UN and these goals are set up so that we can have sustainability in our economy. You have good health and well-being, quality education, sustainable cities. We have partnership for the goals. Partnership for the goals is actually my best part because by partnering we can achieve the goals. Nobody can do it alone. If I have an NGO and you have an NGO, I deal with the girl-child, you deal with how to eradicate poverty, we can come together to achieve the goals.”
On how to eradicate poverty in the country, Awele said: “Permit me to bring up the election now. We have bad leadership. If we are ready to achieve the goals, we must eradicate poverty. Nigeria is a blessed nation. We have a lot of minerals resources. We shouldn’t be a poor nation and I have been thinking about how we can reduce poverty. If we can partner for the goals, we can reduce poverty level in our nation, Nigeria.
My message to Nigerian is to advocate for the goals. Why don’t we have good health facilities in Nigeria? Why are people going out of the country to get good medical services? Why are we having children sitting down on the floor in schools’ classrooms? Why do we have institutions without peace and justice, which is goal 16? My message to Nigerians today therefore is to come out. Let’s advocate for the SDGs and together we can achieve the goals.
On his part, Jeremiah Oseni, the Executive Director of Dbegotin Educational Foundation, one of the partners of the Walk for SDGs said: “we can actually achieve these goals before 2030 but it all depends on our actions and that’s why we are on the streets today.
“Right now, Nigeria is rank below average but between last year, 2022 and this year, we have seen some reasonable development by organizations and even on the part of the government collaborating with other nonprofit to put actions into it to see that we accelerate our actions towards the goals.
“If we all comes together, especially the media and propagate these things getting people to take action on education, health. For instance, Nigeria has 20 million out-of-school children. This is alarming. As an organization for instance, we are taking it upon ourselves to get 500 children in each of the local government in Nigeria back in school and we believe that with this we can bring this 20 million down to zero. That’s the role of the educational development foundation. Other organizations and government department and agencies can follow suit. It’s doable and 2030 is just around the corner.”
Oseni added: “The media has a very key role to play especially TV stations or online news media. Before you open in the morning, after flashy and key projects, you dedicate five minutes to talk about the SDGs because I believe you have a large, wide-ranged audience and fans who listening to you so that they get to know about these. On our own part we have been organising SDGs hangout, rallies and we are going to the National Assembly and this has been happening on a weekly basis. So nobody is being left behind. We are going to carry everybody along.
In her presentation, Moyosola Oladayo posited: “We cannot say we have done enough. We continue to talk about it to ensure that people are aware about it, not just sensitising them alone but also informing them on the ways they can get involved. So this SDGs Walk today is one of the ways we are trying to get more people to be aware of the goals and how they can act.
“Today’s walk has been helpful and another set of people will come and our own work is more of collaborating with organizations. We hope that people that got the flyers of our messages will act on them.”
On how to educate Nigerians considering our language differences, Oladayo said: “The SDGs have been translated into various languages. Before now we have translated them into 50 Nigerian languages. This was in 2019. We also have pidgin for the common people to also understand. So we hope to reach more people.
During the walk, Abuja residents were treated to good music and the SDGs leaflets, stickers, etc were handed out to them, alongside refreshments.