DAI today hosted leading figures from Nigeria’s government, Nigerian civil society, and the international community in a productive discussion of the role of governance in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Issued under the auspices of the United Nations, the 17 SDGs are a call to action designed to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
“The word governance does not appear anywhere in the titles of the 17 goals,” said DAI
Country Director, Joe Abah, who hosted the Governance Matters roundtable at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja. “But the truth is that governance is everywhere in the SDGs—and without good governance, the goals will be very difficult to achieve.”
Among the panellists who discussed the centrality of good governance and efficient administration to Nigeria’s development— including health, education, poverty reduction, economic growth, human capacity development and devolution of powers—were Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State; Abdullahi Ganduje, the Govenor of Kano State; Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health; and Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs . Paul Arkwright, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria was present to lend his support to the event.
“We intend that this roundtable will yield tangible, pragmatic, and achievable recommendations that governments at all levels—federal, state, and local—can advocate for and implement to improve governance and, ultimately, service delivery for the Nigerian people,” said Mr. Abah.
In addition to the distinguished speakers from state and national government, the discussions featured senior representatives from the international donor, civil society, and implementing partner community, including: Stephen Haykin, USAID Mission Director; Debbie Palmer, Head of Office, DFID Nigeria; Jeremy Kanthor, Managing Director of DAI’s Governance Sector and Asishana Okauru, Director-General of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
DAI’s Governance Matters roundtable is the first of a series of high-level events collectively known as the DAI Development Matters series, which will seek to strengthen the nexus between central governance institutions (such as planning, budgeting, and human resources) and service delivery performance in key sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, agriculture, and trade and investment.
Key Highlights from The Speakers
DR. JOE ABAH – COUNTRY DIRECTOR, DAI
• “All donor funds put together, both grants and loans, cannot tackle Nigeria’s human development challenges. The key challenge for development practitioners must be how to support Nigeria to unlock its own resources for sustainable development.”
JEREMY KANTHOR – MANAGING DIRECTOR GOVERNANCE, DAI GLOBAL
Founded in 1970, DAI is a global development company with corporate offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Belgium, and ongoing projects in more than 100 countries. Named one of the world’s top 40 international development innovators, DAI works on the front lines of international development, tackling fundamental social and economic development problems caused by inefficient markets, ineffective governance, and instability. In February 2018, DAI joined forces with GRID Consulting, Nigeria’s leading development consultancy. A long-time partner of DAI’s, Lagos-based GRID specializes in financial advisory services, human resource management, and development program implementation.
Governance practitioners and our colleagues from other development sectors operate with different vocabularies, incentives and methods. Finding commonalities is key and we’ve found that issues of sustainability, efficiency and access to services are areas where governance and other development sectors can find common ground to build from.
We currently implement seven projects for four clients in Nigeria – DFID, the European Commission, Chevron, and the US States Agency for International Development (USAID). We work at the Federal, State and local level on issues of governance, economic policy, public health, eater and sanitation, and agriculture market systems development.
STEPHEN HAYKIN – USAID MISSION DIRECTOR
In many communities, we partner with public, private and non-government actors to leverage their commitment to improve services and promote economic activity
We support civil society organizations to develop their capacity to seek more open and accountable governance
DEBBIE PALMER – HEAD OF OFFICE, DFID NIGERIA
Nigeria is on the cusp of a demographic transition that could propel the country to become the economic superpower of Africa. We need healthy educated young people who can help the economic growth of this country
The UK is moving from an unsustainable method of providing direct delivery support to one that promotes institutional change
Government must provide the leadership on policy development and responses to crisis.
Good governance is at the heart of overcoming human development constraints.
Government needs to invest more and make sure that they reach the places where the money will matter most.
MALLAM NASIR EL-RUFAI – GOVERNOR OF KADUNA STATE
The fundamental challenge that government faces in Nigeria is not financial resources but human resources.
The greatest challenge to education is the breakdown of public schools.
We believe that health and education and the only pathways to social mobility.
Investment in education takes a generation to pay off
We must have a healthy population of educated young people, for us to reap that population dividend.
Fundamentally what has happened to quality of people in public service, among other things, has been the breakdown of the public-school system.
ABDULLAHI UMAR GANDUJE- GOVERNOR OF KANO STATE
“When we are talking of human development, the two most important parameters are education and health.”
“Kano State has the highest population in the country and therefore our challenges are serious. Our population can become a risk, we have to be very careful. We want to make our population an asset, therefore we take the issues of education and health very seriously.”
PROF. ISAAC FOLORUNSO ADEWOLE: MINISTER OF HEALTH
“Nigeria has a large stock of human resources, what we have is a challenging matter is the distribution.”
“Over 60% of our human resources are in Lagos and Abuja, and the rest have little to cope with.”
“There is a state in this country with 23 hospitals and 22 doctors.”
PRINCESS ADEJOKE ORELOPE-ADEFULIRE – SSAP-SDGS
There is a dire need for concerted actions by all actors involved for the delivery of public services.
Good governance is participatory, effective, and accountable.
The core principles of the Sustainable Development Goals focus on people, dignity, planet, prosperity and peace.
A big issue for governments will be how to align policies given the breadth and complexity of the goals and the ned to include an unprecedented range of public & private parties in policy creation and implementation.
Since coming on board, as an office we have assiduously worked with federal MDAs, Partners, and other stakeholders to mainstream the SDGs into National development strategy especially the framework of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan as well as the sectoral plans.
To enhance the legislative and oversight roles of the parliament, the National Assembly has two standing committees on the SDGs in each of the chambers.
LOLA TALABI-ONI – REPRESENTATIVE OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS
Multiple sources of data used to compile baseline data makes it difficult to conduct straight comparisons (MDG Study 2015, SDG Study 2016, MICS 2011, MICS 2017). This will improve as we transition to tracking.
It is still very necessary to continue to sensitize various stakeholders, especially the MDAs at federal and state levels, on the importance of timely & accurate data, particularly administrative data that are relevant to the indicators.
In line with the Statistics Act 2007, it is important for standardization & tracking, that no other body in Nigeria should be given approval to carry out surveys or publish data related directly or indirectly to any SDGs without the involvement of the NBS.
Several sources of data, statistical approaches, including data mining have been used to compile SDG baseline & monitoring data. To enable consistency, NBS should be involved in the tracking of the indicators, & in the use of further surveys with regards to SDGs.
There are significant gaps in the MDAs which call for continuous training and capacity building to ensure effective monitoring of the SDGs progress.