Lauds Ugwuanyi, Umahi
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has pledged that the Zero Hunger Team, under his chairmanship, will do everything to eliminate hunger in Nigeria by 2030.
Obasanjo said already, the team is taking guided steps and making proper consultations with relevant stakeholders towards the implementation of policy objectives which would help to achieve the lofty target.
The former president disclosed this at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi State, during the team’s two-day tour of the state.
“At the beginning of this century, the international community decided to establish what they called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was the first time that the international community said the MDGs has seven goals. And, we worked through those goals for the first 15 years of this century, up to the 2015.
“But before the end of the periods allotted to MDG, the international community, again, decided that we in the developing world did not reach all the seven goals but those goals served as objectives that we had to achieve and it helped us in our development.
“Therefore, they decided that we should have a replacement for the Millennium Development Goals. They came up with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), again, to last another 15 years. This time, they have more goals than they had in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“First one is elimination of poverty; second one is zero hunger; third one health and then the world food programme represented here. We thought that we should just have these goals without making efforts to do something about them collectively and individually, country by country.
“So, I was approached and agreed that we will work out detailed plans, programmes, and strategies to achieve zero hunger by the year 2030 in Nigeria. So, that is how the zero hunger project started” he said.
In his speech, host governor, David Umahi, said his government is making spirited effort to ensure it achieves targets in agriculture, which would help to reduce hunger.
Six governors: Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo; Samuel Ortom, Benue; Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Sokoto and Kashim Shetima of Borno states were expected but as at yesterday, only Ortom and Shetima, represented by his deputy, were present.
In Enugu State, Obasanjo expressed delight with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s commitment towards the socio-economic development of the South East.
He said the governor has “surprised me.”
Obasanjo said this when he led a delegation of Brenthurst Foundation to the Government House, Enugu, and recalled that during the South East Security and Economic Summit in the state, last December, “Ugwuanyi made a wonderful planning that saw to the success of the programme.
“That exercise from that day, took a life of its own and I thought we need to give you (Ugwuanyi) a highest commendation for that.”
The former President also noted that the success of the summit gave birth to the South East Region Development Company (SEREDEC).
He applauded South East governors for working together for the development of the zone, and stressed the importance of education, economy and social welfare of the people as the basic ingredients of such growth.
Brenthurst Foundation, which has Obasanjo as chairman and Dr. Greg Mills as chief executive, is brainchild of the Oppenheimer Family of South Africa, initiated for the economic development of Africa.
The foundation was recently invited by the South East Governors’ Forum to explore the region’s potentials for economic integration and development of the zone.
He disclosed that the Foundation’s vision was to assess the needs of the people of the zone in the areas of economy, infrastructure, transportation, power, housing, agriculture, among others, and think of how to impact positively on what is already being done in the region, bearing in mind the federal government plans.
The former president said that the foundation is not into politics, but that its focus is purely to assist in the development of Africa, in appreciation of the fortunes the family made in the continent.
In his welcome address, Ugwuanyi paid glowing tribute to Obasanjo for his passion for the development of the zone, and added that the success story of the foundation informed the south east states’ decision to explore a working relationship with it.