Please be patient with me as I tell you this story. During September 2000, 189 countries came together and endorsed the Millennium Declaration, a commitment of all the world leaders who had gathered there;

“SPARE NO EFFORT TO RELEASE OUR CONFRONTERS MEN, WOMEN and

CHILDREN from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty”.

The above was translated into a framework of eight goals and targets that each country then had to plan for and achieve over a 15-year period ending in 2015. These goals were the result of extensive study anchored by the UN with contributions from the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank and, according to them, would reduce efforts between regions, promote social and human development, contain illegal migration, create quasi-equitable societies where well-being and well-being citizens are the priority.

Most of the developed countries didn’t really need it because there were way above the goals, but they approved them anyway, because the UN didn’t want to give the impression to the underdeveloped world that it was an imposition or a requirement for poor countries. which could naturally attract uninformed resistance.

Above all, it was their judgment, and rightly so, that if the underdeveloped countries could achieve these goals on time, the foundations for their further development would have been laid and the developed countries would not need to always be bound to come to the aid of underdeveloped countries so often and the world can focus on other things. For the developed world, the framework should also guide them in their aid intervention programs.

There is such a thing as donor fatigue and it was also side remarks that the main authors of the program were trying to make up for the disastrous results of the structural adjustment programs of the previous decade on almost every country that was forced to adopt them as preconditions for accessing the loans necessary to keep them afloat and which lead to social and human development problems of global dimensions.

The 8 Millennium Development Goals that countries were supposed to achieve during the period 2000-2015 are;

1-Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

2- Achieve universal primary education

3-Promote gender equality and empower women

4-Reduce infant mortality

5-Improve maternal health

6-Fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases

7-Ensure environmental sustainability

8-Developing a global partnership for development

The statement did not just state the above, it went further by initially identifying 18 targets and 48 indicators to track and measure progress.

The goals were simple and noticeable as they aimed at the welfare and well-being of citizens as the backbone of any meaningful growth which, in turn, would drive economic growth and reduce social stress around the world.

Without even going into details, how do we think we scored after 15 or even now after 21?

We just didn’t know what to do with the documents we had signed and usually didn’t ask for help. In planning and organizing the MDGs, the authors have tried to keep the understanding and implementation very simple.

What developing countries like us were simply supposed to do was go home in September 2000, sit soberly and use Goal 2 as an example; wondering how many students do we have in primary schools, how many students are out of school, what are the growth projections likely to be in the next four, eight, and twelve years? ; then how many classrooms do we have, how many do we need to build to take care of our workforce over the next four, eight and twelve years, how many teachers do we have, how many teachers do we need and do we need over the next four, eight and twelve years?;

The result of the above will then reveal the resources needed across the entire time spectrum. Then, depending on available resources, find creative ways to achieve the goals and how to measure on the same time spectrum. It wasn’t more complicated than that.

Creative problem solving then had to be invoked to assist, develop and examine options such as mobile schools, physical schools, virtual schools, number of students per classroom, desired number of teachers per classroom, teacher development and training and retraining options, etc. etc Nigerian street language was not expected to be complicated or long.

Firstly, for reasons still unclear, we more or less kept the documents on the shelves until around 2005, when we started taking steps that resembled the achievement of the MDGs with the 2004 program of NEEDS, SEEDS and LEEDS (National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy, State Economic Empowerment Development Strategy and Local Economic Empowerment Development Strategy) BUT whose purpose and focus were only somewhat aligned with those of the MDGs.

For whatever reason, the useless attempt to modify the framework of the 8 MDGs for the NEEDS, SEEDS and LEEDS programs did not quite align, because while the 8 MDGs were simply stated goals with targets and indicators for monitoring and measurement, the pillars of NEEDS were wealth creation, job creation, poverty reduction and reorientation of values.

Although there were intersections in the desired outcomes, the 8 MDGs were a simpler agenda with a major central theme of “sparing no effort to liberate our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty”, which was then subdivided into 8 goals, with targets and indicators intended to provide guidance on the plans and actions to be taken to achieve the desired results.

The NEEDS programme, on the other hand, attempted to address four main themes and did not even involve other stakeholders at sub-national levels in its development, as shown in the Kuru Declaration which gave the impression that NEEDS was an initiative of the FGN only and that SEEDS and LEEDS were only acquired and therefore did not obtain the required buy-in from stakeholders at these critical levels.

A detailed review of the MDGs and NEEDS documents will reveal that while the MDGs were simpler to implement and sell to sub-nationals, the NEEDS document was very wordy and nebulous, making it difficult to implement.

While the MDG document is straightforward in the desired actions to be taken and the outcomes, the NEEDS is not, and it is unclear whether this opacity is a result of the multi-directional themes. Also, the MDG documents were easier to turn into a plan because they specified a 15-year timeframe while the NEEDS was open.

But suffice it to say that none of the desired results of the 8 MDGs or the NEEDS plans were achieved and because of the measurement plan under the MDGs it was easy to measure results over time in 2015 and an unbiased review of the end of the MDG quarterly report reveals that Nigeria scored less than 150 points out of a possible 800 points.

In September 2015, the world moved on to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that aimed to stay the course and improve the results of the MDGs. In our own case, we have, as usual, jumped on the SDG bandwagon, even though our performance on the MDGs was nothing out of the ordinary.

We often blame our “imperfect” constitution for all of our economic, social and human development challenges, never paying attention to the fact that it is our inadequate understanding and implementation that puts us where we are. are ; the authors of the 8 MDGs could never have spoken more eloquently and directly of article 14, under 2B of our constitution which states that “the security and well-being of the people shall be the primary objective of government”.

Our poor report and score on the MDGs at the end of the mandate understates our inadequate appreciation of the safety and well-being of people and their interdependence. Leaders at all levels of governance have neglected and, in my view, by omission, to see that the welfare of the people has a direct impact on our homeland security.

Finally, the MDGs are the foundation of the SDGs and we should absolutely go back to the 8 MDGs and start again for all you know with our ingenuity and creativity as a people, we could achieve it even in 7 years or less. There is nothing to be gained by being in primary six and SS3 at the same time. It will be all motions and resources thrown away. The framework for people’s participation in the implementation of the MDGs is important for the implementation of the SDGs, so with insufficient understanding, evidenced by our less than 150 points out of 800, shows that the implementation framework remains under -developed, so how can we expect to demonstrate meaningfully in a 17-subject exam when we failed in the 8-subject one?

We should urgently return to the 8 MDGs as a vehicle to take our nation further down the road to our destiny, and moreover they are the foundation upon which the SDGs are built and there should be no shame in repeating a class .

If we all commit to the 8 MDGs and pursue them relentlessly with our new sense of vision, mission and core values, we can achieve the 21 targets and 60 targets in half the time and, more importantly , ensure the safety and well-being of the population in a substantial way.

We may surprise ourselves with our new layout. Memo no: 004 loading…

THERE IS HOPE!

#IamaHumanNIGERIAN

Harry Thomas-ODEY

2022