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Friday, August 21, 2015

Governors to Hold Talks with Ban Ki-Moon on MDGs

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 Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
The 36 state governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) will on Sunday meet with the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to discuss issues relating to sustainable development.


The plan by the governors to meet Ki- Moon came just as the governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expressed concern over an alleged worrisome meddlesomeness of the Department of State Security (DSS) in election tribunal matters especially in Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia States.
In a bid to explore ways of solving the development challenges confronting the states, the governors said their meeting with the UN scribe is to discuss the implementation of the successor programme to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The meeting with Ki-Moon is a follow-up to his meeting with the forum in May 2011.
In a communique issued at the end of their meeting yesterday and signed but the chairman of the forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Yari, the forum urged the federal government to come up with a more comprehensive power sector policy and strategy.
The communique read: “We will meet with the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon on  August 23, 2015 to discuss among others, the Sustainable Development Goals, the successor programme to the Millennium Development Goals and the envisaged role of state governors, as critical stakeholders in its implementation.
“Sequel to the presentation made by the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC) and exhaustive discussions on the operations of the National Integrated Power Project, the forum resolved to appeal for a more comprehensive power sector policy and strategy, with a view to achieving a holistic solution to the power situation in the country.
The forum also commiserated with the governor and the people of Borno State on the passing away of the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zannah Umar Mustapha.
Meanwhile, the PDP  Governors’ Forum  has condemned in very strong terms the alleged worrisome meddlesomeness of the DSS in election tribunal matters, especially in Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia States
The governors  said they were,  “worried, alarmed and shocked by this development. A situation where officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in these three states, (all PDP States) are daily being arrested, detained and questioned on election-related offences, even when the cases are on-going at the tribunals, spells doom and poses imminent danger to our fledgling democracy.”
At the fourth post-election meeting held at the secretariat in Maitama, Abuja, the PDP governors led by their chairman Dr. Olusegun Mimiko described as totally  unacceptable the alleged interference by the DSS and  attempt to stifle the opposition. The governors called for a stop to the DSS bias action.
The governors wondered why even in cases of under-aged voters that were reported in some states the DSS did not investigate a single person or made any arrest.
“Even in a clear case where money paid was traced to the bank account of a state Resident Electoral Commissioner, the DSS is yet to order investigation into the matter.
“It is against the spirit, ethos, values and fundamental tenets of democratic norms and tradition; more so with the existence of the Electoral Act and the constitution.
“The alleged interference is an attempt to stifle the opposition and this is most unacceptable. We insist that the trend be reversed. No democracy survives without a viable opposition in any part of the world.
“INEC is supposed to be an independent commission and its officials ought to be shielded from partisanship, especially at a time when the dust raised by the alleged APC membership of the DG of the DSS, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura, is yet to settle.
“Finally, we advise the DSS to pre-occupy itself with the task of ensuring internal security and not involve itself in electoral matters,” he said.
Governors of Ekiti, Ondo, Taraba, Delta (deputy), Enugu, Abia, Bayelsa (deputy), Ebonyi, Kogi, Rivers (deputy) attended the meeting which preceded the enlarged governors’ forum meeting.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) across the country have started the process of validating and adopting the Nigeria 2015 MDGs End-Point Report, which will be presented as the final report on the country’s implementation of the framework.
The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, said  the report chronicled the gains recorded in the implementation of the 15-year development framework as well as challenges and gaps requiring attentions in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be adopted in September by world leaders as the replacement for the MDGs.
Speaking at the validation and adoption of the report, the Director/Secretary of Programme, OSSAP-MDGs, Mr. Ochapa Ogenyi, said Nigeria had recorded appreciation progress in the implementation of the goals.
“It is indeed gratifying to note that Nigeria has recorded appreciable progress in the implementation of the MDGs particularly in the area of universal primary enrolment, gender parity in education, reduction in the spread of HIV/AIDs, maternal and child mortality as well as prevalence of hunger,” he said.
The MDGs Report presented the end-point status of the various MDGs key milestones and achievements, notable policy drivers of successes, main challenges and key lessons learnt at both the national and sub-national levels.
Ogenyi noted that the final draft of the Nigeria MDGs Endpoint Report, 2015, which is being validated, is as a result of the collective efforts of all the stakeholders involved in the implementation of the MDGs.

“Let me reiterate that efforts were made to ensure that the report contains accurate, reliable and up to date data benchmarking Nigeria’s progress on most of the 60 indicators.” he stated.
On her part, the Deputy National Programme Manager of the UK aid Governance programme, State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability (SPARC), Hadiza Elayo, said the unfinished business of the MDGs would be addressed by the tougher goals set by the SDGs.
According to her, “The next development agenda has toughened the fight against not just poverty but a broad spectrum of issues as can be seen by the 17 Sustainable development goals, 169 targets and over 500 indicators.”
In his remark, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Pa Lamin Beyai, applauded the efforts of OSSAP-MDGs and indeed the entire country in beating the global deadline on the MDGs.
Pa Lamin Beyai stated: “We have learnt some useful lessons over the past 15 years: wide variations in progress not just across the goals and targets but also across the 36 states, and the FCT; in the six geo-political zones; and in some regions, women and youth are lagging in most of the targets.
“We have also learnt that, in certain instances, a commendable job has been done; Nigeria has managed to make good progress in its polio interventions; implemented a largely successful Conditional Grants Scheme (CGS) aimed at reducing polverty while at the same time promoting the achievement of other MDGs, such as education and health-related MDGs.’’
[Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, Thisday Live]

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