Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday inaugurated the Sustainable Development Goals Private Sector Advisory Group (SDG- PSAG) with an advice on the elite to cater for the needs of the poor and vulnerable people.
At the event, which took place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo remarked that in spite of the failures and false starts of those in authority, the people still placed their hope on the ruling class.
“There are so many left behind and anywhere I go across the country I see there is such a great need to do something that will be impactful on skill.
“A lot of people hang their hopes on us and no matter how we slice it people look up to us and believe that we can do it.
“In spite of all the failures and all the false starts our people especially the poor and vulnerable still believe that this political elite, this private sector elite, will deliver and can deliver.
“I urge all of us to take this as a personal responsibility to do something so profound for our people, something that will make a huge difference in the lives of our people.’’
According to Osinbajo, nobody is going to measure us by what we hold, how much money we have or what position we hold.
“This is why I am excited about the public and the private coming together to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are realised in our time and that indeed nobody is left behind.’’
The acting president described the event as the beginning of partnership between the private and public sector and urged the elite to be in the vanguard of doing things that could transform the country.
He said the elite were the ones to whom the transformation of the society belonged, adding that many societies that had truly transformed did so because their elite decided that it was worthwhile to do so.
He noted that whether the citizens recognised it formally or not, the elite in the private and public sectors were doing things together whether for good or for ill.
“The important thing is to recognise that we have an important role to play,’’ he said.
He added that those holding public positions should realise that they would be measured by how many poor and vulnerable people they were able to lift out of poverty.
“The society places a lot of responsibilities on the elite who are educated and have the opportunity of holding political offices.
“The responsibility is for the elite to do something to the lives of those they govern and the millions of the extremely poor in our midst.
“We simply cannot take that responsibility lightly and we must recognise that that is how we can be measured.’’
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefilure, in an address said the country was the first to inaugurate the PSAG among the UN member nations.
She said that by the event the nation was standing on a threshold of history to forge a partnership between the private and public sector to build the consensus for effective implementation of SDGs.
The presidential aide observed that the role of the private sector to drive economic growth could not be overemphasised, noting that “businesses create jobs, generate taxes, and provide the engine that drive development’’.
She said that in the prevailing economic crunch it became urgent to mobilise private sector fund to implement the SDGs.
According to her, such informed the UN-SDGs Fund to establish the global partnership of the PSAG as a powerful platform for global business leaders to interact, leverage, and exchange cooperation for successful SDGs programmes.
She described the PSAG as a global best practice that works and promised that her office would ensure its success.