Stakeholders have emphasised the importance of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, in Nigeria, saying that it is the road to development and prosperity for the country.

At a one-day conference organised in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, Southwest Nigeria, by the Department for International Development, DFID, an agency of the British government, the stakeholders noted that the MDGs hold the promise of saving millions of lives in Nigeria and Africa.

“The Millennium Development goals in Africa holds the promise of saving millions of lives; empowering women, addressing the scourge of illiteracy, hunger and malnutrition; and ensuring that Africa’s children have access to education of good quality and good health to lead productive lives,” Hajia Amina Az-Zubair, Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan said.

According to her, achieving MDGs will allow African communities to raise productivity and compete successfully in world markets.

The theme of the conference held on 25 August was ‘Measuring and communicating the impact of MDG interventions’. It was the DFID’s second South-West Regional conference on the MDGs.

The agenda of this year’s conference was focused on interim reports from Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Kwara, Osun and Lagos states and was attended by Mr. Sina Fagbenro-Byron, the South West Regional Coordinator for the DFID.

According to him, “2015 is our time frame and we have a pretty vivid idea about the state of welfare of our people. We need to ensure that we begin now to concentrate on real impact that is meaningful and has a transitional effect on our people especially the poor and vulnerable.

“We need to be sure that we are counting and measuring the right things, particularly realising that mere budget appropriated, released or in fact budget spent does not automatically translate to improving lives. Our focus should rather be on how our budgeting and spending is affecting robust and meaningful indicators and baselines to help monitor, capture, and report quality results.”

According to Governor Kayode Fayemi, significant progress has been made on the MDGs. He said: “Several studies have shown that the attainment of the MDGs is a shared responsibility. Though significant progress has been made in some areas, it is evident that as we count down to 2015, we must redouble efforts to improve the human development indices. We must collectively remove poverty, hunger and diseases from the society and thus unleash all potential available for growth and development in order to achieve the MDGs in Nigeria generally and in our region in particular.”

—Simon Ateba