OPENING REMARKS BY THE SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SSAP-SDGs) AT THE OPENING OF FAITH BASED ORGANIZATIONS AGRICULTURE SUMMIT.
VENUE: Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja
DATE: September 11th, 2018
- The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh
- The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele
- The Managing Director of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Mr. Aliyu AbdulHakeem
- His Eminence, The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III
- The President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Olasupo Ayokunle
- Members of the Diplomatic Corps here present
- Representatives of Development partner institutions here present
- Members of the Academia
- Religious and Community leaders
- Large and Smallholder Farmers here present…
- Members of the Press…
- Distinguished ladies and gentlemen
I am delighted to join the distinguished participants and leaders at this very important summit on “Partnership with Faith Based Organization in Agriculture” to fast-track the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 17 in Nigeria. Undauntedly the achievement of these Goals will produce multiplier effect on other Goals.
- I would like to appreciate the Development Training Resources Centre for initiating this important meeting and for the wonderful partnership. I am indeed inspired by the presence of our highly respected religious and community leaders in this Summit. This is no doubt a clear demonstration of your individual and collective commitment towards the socio-economic development of Nigeria. As a government, we will continue to create avenues for our religious leaders to offer leadership guidance as we aim to achieve inclusive development.
- At OSSAP-SDGs, we are mandated to provide strategic leadership and guidance in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria. Since the adoption of the 17 SDGs in December 2015, the Federal government has demonstrated strong commitment in operationalizing the goals and targets across the country. It is pertinent to emphasize that the SDGs framework plans to ‘Leave-no-one-behind’, as it represents a universal call to action to end poverty, safeguard the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. It is in this regard that we are committed to engaging religious and community leaders; the private sector and development partners in support of the SDGs.
- In our desire for inclusive development, we recognise the role of Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) as integral part of the broader Civil Society. The FBOs by concept and practice, tend to evolve from and develop on faith communities’ conviction that they have a moral necessity to help those most in need and to improve their livelihood.
- From the commencement of the implementation of the SDGs agenda in January, 2016, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs has been at the forefront of ensuring that the policy, financial and institutional frameworks needed for the attainment of the SDGs are concretely established, in addition to strengthening the relevant structures for main-steaming, implementing, tracking, monitoring and reporting on the SDGs.
- The purpose of this summit therefore is to deliberate on how to strengthen our collaboration with the Faith Based Organization in Agriculture, to promote self-sufficiency and sustenance in food production and provide meaningful employment to our teaming unemployed population and diversify our economy away from oil dependence. In addition to this, we should be able as a nation to feed ourselves, add value and export excess (Goals 1,2, 5, 8,15 & 16).
It is also important to note in line with the common adage, which says, “a hungry man is an angry man” any hungry society or nation that does not strive to be self-sufficient in food and purse hunger and poverty will hardly enjoy sustainable peace (Goal 16).
It is also gratifying to note and mention that to be healthy we need to invest in agriculture, as any nation or society that fails to do that will surely have a harvest of unhealthy population. Any such nation will be an unwealthy nation; as health is wealth (Goals 3, 4, 8)
- Once more, let me use this opportunity to reiterate the resolve of His Excellency, Mohammadu Buhari GCFR, President FRN to continue to explore meaningful ways and means of improving the lives of all Nigerians. This is consistent with the policy thrust of our present administration that is focused on the engagement and empowerment programmes for Nigerians through Agriculture, due to its potentials for generating massive employment, creation of wealth and reduction of poverty. In-view of the above our engagement with the Faith Based Organization is expected to play a critical role in the achievement of the SDGs, as earlier highlighted.
- Your Excellency Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, and eminent personalities here present, permit me to say that, this summit will provide the platform to guide us as we fashion out strategies to strengthen our relationship and collaboration as we work together for the common good and goal of ensuring that Nigeria makes significant progress in achieving the SDGs by 2030 and being able to feed itself and diversify its economy.
- At this juncture, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our religious leaders for your commitment to the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda as demonstrated by your honoring our invitation to today’s occasion. I am convinced that this unique collaboration will contribute in no small way to our quest to attain the SDGs by being stronger together and at ensuring no one is left behind.
- I wish you all fruitful deliberations.
- Thank you and God Bless You All
Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire,
Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs.
Pictures from the event