By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Oyo State Government on Wednesday unveiled the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Yoruba language with Governor Abiola Ajimobi disclosing that his administration has embarked on many projects at the grassroots level under the SDGs in the areas of education, health, youths and women empowerment.
The governor while speaking at the launch organized by the state government in collaboration with United Nations Information Centre, Lagos (UNIC), United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN), Initiative for Information, Arts and Culture Development in Nigeria (IACD) and Development Agenda of Western Nigeria (DAWN), Governor Abiola Ajimobi said the launch is the first translation of SDGs goals to local language in the country.
Speaking through the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, Governor Ajimobi stressed that the translation of the goals will resonate with the people at the grassroots who are the actual targets of the SDGs in the pro poor projects.
“Today’s event is significant as the translated SDGs goals is meant to penetrate the grassroots for better understanding, better appreciation as well as buy in and cooperation in terms of achieving the goals. Hitherto, it has been in English Language and you know, for example here in Oyo State, Yoruba is the language and the United Nations thought that for the goals to be understood by the people, we need to translate it to the local languages.” he said.
The governor while pledging that Oyo State Government will continue to ensure that the local communities benefit from the UN SDGs programmes, added, “today is also historic because this is the first time that it is being launched in Nigeria, and it is starting from Oyo State. We ensured that the South West launch, which is the first in Nigeria, was done in Oyo State, the cradle of Yoruba race and the epicenter of the South West,
Chairman of the Oyo State Implementation Committee of SDGs, Mr. Abimbola Adekanmbi while speaking said that the state government recently provided 15 motorized boreholes for markets across the state, noting that school facilities like structures and teaching aids, health facilities as well as empowerment programmes for the youths and women have also been executed.
Director United Nations Information Center (UNIC), Dr. Ronald Kayanja
in his remark lauded the Oyo State government for the launch of the translation of the UN SDGs document to Yoruba, saying that the effort was important to make positive impact on the people, saying, “the United Nations recognizes the importance of protecting our mother languages as our heritage”.
“The UN Assembly has put emphasis on the use of people’s native languages to communicate important messages that enable us live together in peace and prosperity. We want to see a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and lack, where all lives can thrive. We envisage a world free of fear and violence. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets contained in this document demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal agenda. This is why this event, the launch of the Yoruba language SDGs is of great importance,” he said
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Bamiji Ojo, in his speech extolled the goodness in the event, which he said afforded the people the freedom to freely express themselves in their local language, adding that the success of any administration or people in leadership positions were attached to the use of mother tongue in communicating policies and programs of government to the people, adding that only the late Chief Bola Ige and the present administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi achieved such.
“Imagine somebody telling you about ending poverty and using foreign language. When you get home and you cannot explain what you were told here, it means the communication channel has failed. The awakening has shown that previous administrations also have programs and policies but lack proper implementation. So if really we want development, we should always put people who love and make good use of Yoruba language in government and leadership positions. We have such example in late Chief Bola Ige and Governor Abiola Ajimobi,” he said.
The translation of SDGs goals to Yoruba, unveiled at the ancient Mapo hall, was witnessed by culture enthusiasts, traditional rulers, diplomats, socio-cultural groups, market men and women, traders and members of the Oyo State Executive Council.