The Oyo State Government on Wednesday in Ibadan unveiled the 17 goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Yoruba language.
The translation of SDGs goals to Yoruba, which was 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.
In his address 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 described the launch as historic, saying that this is the first translation of SDGs goals to local language in the country.
Governor Ajimobi, represented by the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, said 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.
According the governor, “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.
“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,” the governor said.
Governor Ajimobi said his administration has embarked on many projects at the grassroots level under the SDGs in the areas of education, health, youths and women empowerment, pledging that the government will continue to ensure that the local communities benefit from the UN SDGs programmes.
In his remarks, the Chairman, State Implementation Committee of SDGs, Mr. Abimbola Adekanmbi 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.
The United Nation’s representative at the event who is also the Director United Nations Information Center (UNIC), Dr. Ronald Kayanja appreciated 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.
Kayanja said, “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,” the UNIC Director added.
The 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.
Chief Ojo hinted 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.