By Dipo Olowookere
In furtherance of its commitment to leaving no one behind in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations in collaboration with Oyo State Government and the UN Association of Nigeria (UNAN), has launched the Yoruba Language translation of the complete 17 Goals and 169 Targets of the SDGs.
The launch of the complete SDGs Yoruba language version, was the first in the country, and was held at the historic Mapo Hall, Ibadan on 25 July 2018, with fanfare and rich display of Yoruba culture.
Speaking, the Director of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, acknowledged the importance of Yoruba language, which he said, “It is estimated that more than 40 million people speak the language in Nigeria, The Republic of Benin and Togo. It is the third most widely spoken indigenous language in Africa.” It is for this reason, according to him, that the launch of the Yoruba language SDGs and targets was of great importance.
Mr Kayanja urged the audience numbering up to 1000 people, to use the occasion to start a mass mobilisation of people for achievement of the SDGs among the Yoruba speaking people. “Please read these goals and pass on the message to others. Let us commit to reach those who are farthest first and leave no one behind as we work towards achieving the SDGs targets” He said.
Launching the SDGs Yoruba language version, HRH Oba Lekan Balogun expressed his delight about the translation of the 17 goals and 169 targets in the language of the people to enhance their understanding and participation. He urged the audience who were mainly grassroots people comprising of market women, artisans, youth organisations, civil servants, among others, to read and play the role expected of them as good citizens.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Bamiji Ojo, commended the UN, Oyo State government and other partners for placing grassroots people at the centre of SDGs awareness and implementation.
The Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Hon Toye Arulogun, noted that the choice of Mapo Hall for the occasion was deliberate and strategic in view of its historic importance and the centrality of its location at the heart of the city and closeness to the grassroots to whom the SDGs Yoruba would be most beneficial. He reiterated the commitment of the Oyo State government to the achievement of the SDGs.
Chairman of Oyo State Implementation Committee of SDGs and Commissioner for Finance, Hon Abimbola Adekanbi, explained that SDGs is for everybody and that individuals have a role to play in its achievement.
Other partners were Oodua Investment Company Limited, Dawn Commission and Initiative for Information, Arts and Culture Development in Nigeria (IACD) and the American Corner, Ibadan.