Assessment of Sustainable Development Goals In Nigeria (2015-2019)



  • Background to the Study

Over the years, the international community has embraced several goals and campaigns aimed to reach several development goals, variously defined. For example, the United Nations (UN) campaigns „Education for all (1978)‟, „Health for all (1990)‟ aimed to achieve primary education and access to health care by 2000. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on the other hand were supposed to function as partnership between developed and developing countries through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future based upon common humanity in all its diversity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators the UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agenda and political policies over 15 years (2015-2030). The SDGs are a follow up of the MDGs. The SDGs become necessary because the deadline for MDGs has passed and poverty is still very high with over one billion people living on less than $1.25 a day – the World Bank on poverty.



The target of MDGs was to reduce the population living in poverty by half, available statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the population living in poverty in Nigeria rose from 68.7 million in 2004 to 112.5 million in 2010 (Kale, 2012 cited in Ibada, 2014); indicating an increase in the population living in poverty, rather than reduction.

In response to the pervasiveness of poverty in the country, Onah (2007:47-48) has observed that “successive Nigerian governments at different levels for over four decades have introduced several policies and programmes, some of which were sector specific and others non-sector specific with poverty reduction as its centre-price.” Right from 1960 when Nigeria gained independence, the goal focus of national economic programmes has been the reduction of poverty, bridging inequality gaps and the achievement of a sustained economic growth that should translate to economic development. Additionally, several poverty reduction approaches have also been utilized in attempt to grapple with the beleaguered poverty situation of the country’s citizens. The implementations of poverty reduction approaches in Nigeria were incorporated into objectives stated in the first and second Development Plans of 1962-68 and 187-1995 respectively. Other poverty reduction programmes of pre-SAP era were the River Basin Development Authority (RBDA), the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP), the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (AGCS), the Rural Electrification Scheme (RES), the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) and the Green Revolution (GR) of 1980. Other poverty reduction programmes in Nigeria after the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1985 were the Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRR), National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Better Life Programme (BLP). Thus, in spite of these policies and programmes in Nigeria and third world in general, poverty still remains pervasive and on high increase.

Consequently, realizing the threat posed by poverty to global peace and security, the United Nations in September 2000 initiated and set as target of pursing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs is a set of 8 time-bound development goals, which was signed by 189 world leaders at the United Nations Millennium summit held in New York. It is aimed at reducing the number of people who lived on less than a dollar in year 2015 by pursuing the following eight objectives; eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reducing child mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other deadly diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development (FRN 2008).

More so, with the aim of reducing poverty and suffering in the globe especially among the third world countries UN agencies like International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and World Trade Organization(WTO)  all helped to develop a policy with a collective responsibility to get the rich countries increase grant/aid, removal of unsustainable debts of the poorest Third World Countries, trade liberalization and improving the per-capital income of the concerned countries (Tadaro and Smith 2008). Thus the United Nation advocated for adoption of this neo-liberal policy measures of privatization, deregulation and liberalization which were mainly predicated on the World Bank/IMF initiated model for curtailing fiscal and external imbalances for developing countries which were experiencing high incidence of poverty, external indebtedness owed it and other bilateral institutions since the early 1980s (Mills 1989:5). According to the U.N if these policies and programmes are implemented, world poverty will be cut by half, tens of millions of lives will be saved, and billions more people will have the opportunity to benefit from the global economy.

Nigeria as a member state of the UN and in a bid to reduce extreme poverty, hunger and hardship adopted the SDGs after the shortfall of MDGs  and other neo-liberal economic policies. Successive Nigerian government (military and civilian) have adopted these programme, notably under the civilian leadership of Olusegun Obasanjo Nigeria keyed into MDGs by established the twin programmes of National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) in successive manner. These programmes were developed through broad-based consultation with all major stakeholders across the country (UNDP, 2006). Besides, the programmes and policy were introduced by the political leadership in recognition that the fundamental challenges at the present stage of Nigeria’s development is to meet the basic needs of its diverse people through drastic reduction of poverty on a sustainable basis. To achieve this target therefore, the policies and programmes were meant to incorporate all the stakeholders namely, the federal government, state government, local government, civil society, research institutions, organized private sectors and concerned individual (Okoye and Onyukwu, 2007). As such States and Local governments further domesticate this strategy with the launch of State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEED) and Local Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LEEDS).


Against this backdrop, the paper seeks to assess the SDGs programme in Nigeria from 2015-2019. The paper examines why Nigeria, like many sub-Saharan African countries did not meet the targets of MDGs. This is indeed critical, as it is fundamental to the success or failure of the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If the factors that made MDGs fail are not critically and thoroughly examined, they will likewise cause failure of SDGs, despite huge investments in human, material and financial resources. Specifically, the paper is aimed at taking stock of major gains and inhibiting factors against MDGs i.e., what has really been done and what went wrong? This is necessary given the limited success of the MDGs in Nigeria and the technical factors that has affected its comprehensive success so that the MDGs will not be mere wishful thinking. Therefore, the success of SDGs will depend on addressing the challenges faced by MDGs.


1.2   Statement of the Problem

Poverty is one of the major issues facing the world today, it is the inability to attain a minimum standard of living and measured with some indices such as lack of access to resource, lack of education and skills, poor health, malnutrition, lack of shelter, poor access to water and sanitation, vulnerability to shocks, violence and crime, political discrimination and marginalization (World Bank Report, 2002).

The issues of poverty reduction and improved living standards constitute one of the critical challenges facing Nigeria today. In Nigeria the situation appears to have defied all solutions, this is because of the nature of governance which is characterized by catastrophic governance, corruption, mismanagement, thereby neglecting good governance which is predicated on transparency, accountability, responsiveness and rule of law. More so, is the implementation of neo-economic policies, which often results to retrenchment and more hardship to the populace. These have often been a clog in the wheel of poverty reduction programmes, that why despite different policies and programmes the scourge still remains high. At present, the government of Nigeria at the federal level is still running the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP, which is replicated in all the states of the federation.  Ever since the programme started in 2001 and billions of naira spent, there is very little or nothing to show for it in terms of poverty eradication (Mbaegbu, 2015).  This is attributed to the corrupt nature and politicization of this programme, which sees resources which could pay for public goods or directed towards investment ( create employment and other opportunities for citizens) are being misappropriated and directed for private use, this makes the initiation of this programme fruitless.

The failure to effectively combat the problem has largely been blamed on infrastructural decay; endemic corruption, poor governance and accountability ( Okonjo-Iweala, Soludo and Muhtar, 2003). Similarly, Muo (2007) attributes it to lack of coordination and commitment, lack of continuity, improper appreciation of the roots and magnitude of the problem, policy inconsistency, deficient infrastructural facilities and corruption.

Arising from the foregoing, despite huge budgetary allocation  Nigeria  still has a long way to go in terms of meeting the demands and expectations of its citizenry. Some  State is considered a poverty ridden state owing to the prevalence of most poverty indicators such as ill-health, drought, job loss, economic decline, poor standard of living etc. Poverty has taken its toll on the citizens as evidenced in the increasing rate of poverty among the populace.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The study has broad and specific objectives. The broad objective of this study is on assessment of SDGs in Nigeria, a study of 2015-2019.

Specifically, the study is set out:

  • To examine how lack of good governance in the management of Sustainable Development Goals funds undermined the policy of poverty reduction in Nigeria.
  • To ascertain whether the implementation of SDGs programmes will helper foster rural and Urban development


1.4 Research Questions

This study posited the following research questions based on the objectives and aims of the study.

1 Does lack of  good governance in the management of Sustainable  Development Goals funds undermined the policy of poverty reduction in Nigeria?

2 Does inadequate implementations of SDGs policies a hindrance to sustainable development of the rural  and urban development?


1.5 Significance of the Study

This significance of this study is twofold: academic and practical. Academically or theoretically, this study will attempt to fill the gap in existing literature in the area of Sustainable  Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

The study will provide the springboard for further establishment of poverty reduction strategies and programmes, as existing poverty reduction programmes have failed to reduce abject poverty amongst the citizenry. It also provides information for further academic research work and encourages more research on the emerging realities and topical issues about Sustainable  Development Goals (MDGs)  Nigeria.

The academic or practical significance of the study will be of utmost importance to the managers of the Nigerian state on how best to manage the SDGs funds. It will also be of   benefit to government on the best efforts and strategies in reducing abject poverty and prioritize socio-economic developments which have implications for human well being, equally it will be helpful for administrators and policy implementers charged with the responsibility of formulating and or executing poverty reduction programmes. Finally, the study also helps government, other relevant bodies and international organizations to understand the importance of good governance in implementation of poverty reduction programme.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study was meant to assess the Sustainable Development Goal from 2015-2019. The study further reassess the weakness of  Millennium development goal (MDGs)  which foster the birth of SDGs

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