The role of the 17 sustainable development goals in solving global problems dominated discussions at the first plenary session of the Babcock University International Model United Nations conference.

The conference, which rolled off the ground at the Babcock University Business School main auditorium, drew participants from all walks of life, provided opportunity to discuss the 17 SDGs and to come up with practical ways of solving the world problems for better and secured future.

The session was fashioned after the conventional United Nations general assembly and was presided by a sitting President, Fadilo Ahmad who was assisted by the Secretary General, Samuel Chiemela and under Secretary General Delegates’ affairs, Salma Ibrahim.

At the end of roll call by sitting president and the under-secretary, there was a total of delegates representing 101 countries with a simple majority of 53 delegates, two-third majority of 70 delegates. Of the number 16 were present and not voting.

Just like a normal United Nations general assembly in which prominent citizens are invited to address delegates, the model United Nations conference recorded a plethora of such personalities.

Among them were the chairman of Senate committee on special duties, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, director of the UNIC, Mr. Roland Kayanja, who was represented by the Knowledge Management Assistant of the Centre, Ms Bolanle Olumekor , former president of UNESCO, Emeritus Professor Michael Omolewa, who is a faculty member in Babcock University, President/Vice Chancellor of the host university, Professor Ademola Tayo and his immediate predecessor, Professor J.A Kayode Makinde, a Fellow, Study of the United States Institute, University of South Carolina and Covenant University faculty, Professor Sheriff Folarin and Olofin of Ilishan-Remo, HRH Oba Michael Sonuga among other.

In his welcome address the sitting Secretary General, Samuel Chiemala reminded delegates of the major conflicts around the world and the need for a joint effort to stem the tide.

According to him, the achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals was the pivot for a peaceful world that would be acceptable by all.

He commended Babcock University and UNIC for their support towards making the model United Nations’ first plenary session a huge success.

The host and President/Vice Chancellor, Professor Ademola Tayo congratulated BUIMUN and UNIC for convening the conference and for considering the school a worthy host of the first session.

Professor Tayo, no less agreed with the secretary general that a concerted efforts were required to nib in the bud the different challenges around the world.

He noted that the conference not only had cultural and academic values but also provided another opportunity for Africans to learn from each other, transform the continent and make the world a better place for all.

The whole idea of the conference, according to him, is to inspire young people to engage in discussions that would make “our world” a better place.

In his own message, the director of United Nations Information Centre, one of the main sponsors of the session, Mr. Rolan Kayanja said there was dire need for countries to work in common cause for the common humanity in view of the inter-connectedness of people around the world.

According to him, the Model United Nations session therefore provided opportunity for the youths to broaden their horizons as well as to learn and network to establish peace, secure human rights and enable all people of the world to live in dignity.

In the same vein, the special guest and APC Senator representing Adamawa Central, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako said the plenary session of the model United Nation conference presented a unique advantage for the delegates to think about their future and their nations.

“What will your future be like?” He asked.

Senator Nyako, who is also the chairman of the Senate committee on special duties, enjoined the delegates to think carefully about their future and to take every deliberation at the conference seriously.

“You have left your countries to think of the future, therefore you need to bear in mind the kind of change you want to see in the next five to 20 years. Do you want the world to remain the ways it is or do you want to see a change,” he added. According to him, the level of achievement of the SDGs was dependent on the kind of resolutions reached at the conference. “Therefore you need a clear process, patience, perseverance to make it work,” he said. He assured the delegates of his readiness to assist at ensuring that suggestions that would help us improve legislations in the country see the light of the day. “Let us not play with our future. Let us take this matter seriously and come up with meaningful resolutions that would change our lives. Let us encourage them and stop the hate speech and blame game,” he said. Also lending his voice, Emeritus Professor Michael Omolewa said he was fascinated by the success recorded at first session of the model United Nations Conference and for the choice of a serene environment for the conference. According to him, the choice of the theme was apt in view of the failure of the millennium developments goals and the continued conflicts, hunger, human trafficking, terrorism, and intolerance around the world. While noting that the model United Nations conference presented delegates another opportunity of looking at the SDGs in an objective manner, the former president of UNESCO said there was no limit to the potentials of the youths to champion a cause that would bring young elements into the governance structure in the country. He commended the National Assembly for the recent legislation that paved the way for the youths to participate in national development at a younger age. He said since no single person has answers to the myriad of problems of the world it was therefore pertinent for everybody to contribute to the dignity of the world.

“Above all let us remember to appreciate the power of the all-knowing God and look after one another as we expect a better tomorrow,” he said. Professor Folarin was more concerned about how the 17 SDGs would solve the myriad of problems of the world in the face of mounting “walls and bridges”. He said since “walls” are physical walls or barriers created by states against one another, and bridges as links that facilitate trade and investment and opportunity for trans-border crime and human trafficking, the chances for the attainment of the SDGS was slim. This, according to him, put the fate of the 17 SDGs in a balance because their fulfillment would be dependent on mutual cooperation among states and how humanity finds fulfillment in the SDGs. “How well can these SDGs, for instance, find fulfillment in the face of Donald Trump’s planned walls and the exit of Britain from European Union?”

 

By Dayo Adesulu (Vangard News Paper Nigeria)