How Nigeria Can Achieve Sustainable Development Goals – Emir Sanusi

The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II,  has said Nigeria can achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) by focusing on the education of the girl child.

While advising President Muhammadu Buhari, northern governors, and other Nigerian stakeholders on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly (UNGA) in New York, he said you do not preach to a man who wants to marry a second a third wife, just make sure the girl child is educated.

According to the traditional ruler,  as far as the SDGs are concerned, the focus should be different across various regions of the country.

READ: Ganduje Reacts to Rumours on Plans to Dethrone Sanusi

He pointed that the top priority for the northwest and northeast should be the education of the girl child.

“If I were to advise governors in the northwest and the northeast, which goal should they focus on? It’s one, and it’s a subset of one; just educate the girlchild.

“I mean look, we talk about this technical economic issues of industrialisation and power and so on. Take the north, for example, we’ve been growing at 3.4, 3.5 percent per annum. That means the population in northern Nigeria has been doubling every 20 to 25 years.

“In that period you’ve had desertification, Lake Chad has lost its water resources, the resources have shrunk and the population has increased. You are not going to solve that by having the government spend money.

“Address cultural attitudes as to what age do girls marry, how many children do girls have, how many wives do men have, it’s not money — it is not about money”, Sanusi said.

While emphasising the need to educate the girl child, Sanusi said if the girl child is educated, this ripples into many other development indices expected in the society.

“If you want to address those things, you also have to say what is the quickest way to address them. You can spend your time getting religious scholars and traditional rulers to go and be campaigning, but you don’t preach to someone who wants to marry a second or third wife and then have him listen to you.

“He loves her and he wants to marry her. However, if you educate the girls and make sure that they finish secondary school and have skills before they get married, they would not have eight children, they would not accept domestic violence, and they are more likely to stop their husbands from having a second wife.”

He, therefore, government at all levels to tackle high fertility rates in order to reduce caese out-of-school children in the future.

You deal with out-of-school children because if a woman is educated her children go to school, you deal with malnutrition. Malnutrition is not about money, you have people who will actually harvest beans that they need, come to the city, sell the beans, go back and be drinking Coca-Cola and eating bread, and thinking that they have arrived, because they simply don’t know that the beans were far more useful to them than the Coca-Cola. Educating the woman helps with nutrition.

READ: Kano Emirate Had N1,89bn When I became Emir Not N3.4 Billion, Sanusi Replies Ganduje’s Query

“You get to so many of the goals through a single target, if we devout our resources to say we want every girl in northern Nigeria educated to 1. senior secondary school level, and 2. we have to ask ourselves how come we are producing thousands of graduates who are not employed? Is our educational system functional? We have to look at that entire curriculum; the girls who come out and the boys who come out should be able to earn a living.

“That way, you deal with extreme poverty, demographic growth, sustainability, nutrition, and you deal with so many of the goals.”

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