African Parliamentarians Call For Total War On Corruption To Achieve SDGs | Independent Newspapers Limited
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African Parliamentarians Call For Total War On Corruption To Achieve SDGs

Posted: Mar 11, 2016 at 12:57 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Ahmed Musa, Abuja

Parliamentarians across the African continent have been brainstorming on how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved with value for efforts, identifying the need to fight endemic corruption on the continent as key.
The lawmakers who converged on Abuja, the nation’s capital, made the call at the ongoing All African Parliamentary Conference On The Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) holding at the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly complex.
The event, which is the first of its kind in the effort to achieve sustainable development on the continent, saw the Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Hon. Yusuf Sulaiman Lasun who chaired it on behalf of Speaker Yakubu Dogara saying that African legislators must work to enhance development strategies that approach challenges from rural to urban areas, instead of the usual emphasis on developing just the urban centres.
Lasun said this can only be achieved through effective and quality representation that constantly keeps the representatives in touch with the people they represent.
“Africa as a continent is struggling to catch up on development in the 21st century.
“You can hardly see development in rural areas and the advent of MGDs, now SDGs is for this purpose of bridging the development gap between urban and rural areas.
“We want to ensure that the young ones in rural areas are also availed the opportunity of exposure to the development in rural areas as they exist in the cities”, Lasun said.
Senator Fortune Palimbira, a Zimbabwean lawmaker who’s the President of the Pan-African Parliament stressed the need to fight corruption on the continent if the set goals are anything achievable.
He commended Nigerian government for organising such an important conference aimed at creating veritable platform for the actualisation of SDGs in Africa, making sure that the quality of live of the people of Africa is improved.
Senator Palimbira, however, asked a paramount question saying that; “Can Africa claim the 21st century which is what actually brought about the idea of MDGs?”.
“Because for all the centuries, Africa has been left behind. And confronted with these problems, honestly we need to sit up”, he said.
“And I think, (he continued) that we should get a feel of the few challenges that we have as we talk about SDGs.
“In African countries, we have 5 years, 10 years development plans. We have always had these, but the real budget of driving development, we must prioritise, and we need the parliament because we must come together in the planing process.
“It’s bad for us to hear that in a particular country, the GDP has grown from 5 to 10 percent and when u go into the street, nothing has changed. There’s poverty and hunger everywhere. So it’s not right that African growth is only seen on papers and not through the eyes of its people”, the Zimbabwean said.
This position was re-echoed by another lawmaker from the Eastern bloc, Hon. Abubakar Zain Abubakar, of the East African Legislative Guild who said he drew inspiration from the leader of the Eastern African Leadership Summit 10 days ago when they were told to always bear in mind that those they represent are the poor.
He said: “Don’t forget that the majority of the people you represent are the poor people, don’t forget, and always remember that the monies you spend are monies that have been collected from poor people on behalf of poor people, and in the end of everything, don’t forget who you represent and that the majority of our people are poor people.
“Secondly, he said we must change the way we do business, and we must internalise and embrace a work ethos that says, hard work is part of us, when others are walking, we have no choice but to run.
“Lastly, he said corruption must be fought tooth and nail. This dream and the promise of the Millenium Development Goals will be difficult to attain if we as African as people do not fight corruption”, Hon. Abubakar said to a highly applauding audience.
Another delegate, Mr. Edward Doo Ajao and Speaker of the Ghanaian parliament commended Nigerian parliament for hosting the conference, stating that the collaboration emboldens the major initiatives for sustainable development as well as enhancing the drive for reducing poverty on the African continent.
“We must hold fast to the objectives of this goals so as to uplift our nation states from the doldrums of backwardness.
“Lack of commitment and political will to implementing programmes outlined for the realisation of the set goals will only encumber the continent’s quest for rapid and sustainable development.
“Recognising our collective accord for achieving the goals set, we must legislate for the purpose of compelling other arms of government to do what’s necessary”, Speaker Ajao told participants.
Earlier, the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Ado Doguwa who also chaired the House Committee on MDGs and former Chairman of the African Parliamentary Network on MDGs, called on the his successor both at national and continental levels to take advantage of the foundation laid with MDGs and see the mandates as unfinished businesses rolled over to SDGs.
His successor in the House, Hon. Tijani Jobe said for objectives to succeed, legal support and legislative collaboration is required.
“We expect governments to report back to parliaments in the implementation of SDGs. We all must join hands in the actualisation of these goals and the time starts right now.
“We must be determined to take the bold and purposeful step toward achieving the set objectives identified by our leaders of thought and also take the lead in the implementation of our strategies towards actualising our set gaols.
“Given the role parliament will play in driving the SDGs, We are actively involved in drafting the agenda and its focus across the world”, he said.
Also present at the event were the newly appointed Senior Assistant to the President on SDGs and former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Hon Adejoke Adefulore as well the United Nations Millennium Campaign, Mr. Mitchel Tummy who all charged participants to internalise the ideals of the SDGs as Hon. Adefulore assured the parliamentarians of the executive’s resolve to achieve the set objectives.