“If you are emotionally attached to your tribe, religion, or political leaning to the point that truth and justice become secondary considerations, your education is useless. Your exposure is useless if you cannot reason beyond petty sentiments, you are a liability to mankind.” — Dr. Chuba Okadigbo

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My last post, 2 weeks ago, was titled Championing the SDGs; Africa’s Emerging Markets’ COVID-19 Recession Shield, however with a 20/80 vision, I reckon it was wrongly titled, it ought to have been Championing the SDGs; Africa’s Emerging Markets’ COVID-19 Recession Shield Cure. Because from reflecting, I believe that a shield only serves to protect an impending threat, and the COVID-19 Recession was not impending at the time of the article, it was rife and palpable globally. With the realization and correction, I decided that my next article should dare implement my quote in that article “…now more than ever is the time that leaders of Africa’s Ems should aggressively champion the SDGs. Champion them from the top to the bottom, and repeat.”

And believe me, to accomplish the title of this article is no walk in the park. But, yet to do this, it will require a brief definition of what the SDGs are not, as it will take an article in two parts to define and explain what the SDGs are. Though I envision that in my next four to six articles, I will have to invest the time and words to this effect.

Why is it Important to state what the SDGs are Not?

Before, the lockdown I was at a roadshow of an African pioneering EDtech and Marketplace company. Where the co-founder in his speech, referenced that the greatest motivation for his enterprise stems from the fact that he did not want to wait nor rely on the Western-Jesus Savior Mentality to solve paramount Africa’s development challenge. I believe what he means, by the Western-Jesus Savior Mentality, is the lingering and residue effects of colonialization, where African nations heavily rely on the Western countries, especially G7 countries, to solve Africa’s infrastructure and human capacity development imminent issues, which usually comes in the forms of aids and loans from IMF or development programs from the UN. While I share and can relate to his motivation. I believe it is important to state here unequivocally that the SDGs are not and should not be viewed through the lens of the Western-Jesus Savior Mentality.

Additionally, as a proud Pan-African, it is easy and customary for me to view any program or initiative proposed or developed by the UN, with suspicion. This is because, my skeptic proclivity attends to such initiatives, with the question: “How do they benefit?” Where the ‘they’ represent the G7 countries — whose economic and political affluence majorly influences the UN decisions. However, in the past year, with my experience and relentless pursuit of expansion of my awareness, I have come to agree with Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer that

“These conditions require a mindest on the part of decision-makers/change-makers that is more open, attentive, adaptive, and tuned in to emerging changes.”

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Thus, I am painfully and steadily shedding my old lenses of suspicion, towards the UN proposed frameworks and initiatives developed for emerging and developing nations.

Two SDGs Catalysts Incidents

The SDGs were implemented and co-signed by all the UN member states in 2015. However, between 2010 and 2012, the world and affairs witnessed two riveting shocks from Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement — We Are Still the 99 Percent. Where the latter was motivated by the inequalities created by capitalism, and the former was more fostered by the dissatisfaction of Arabians, towards the region’s enrooted authoritarian regimes, which was exhibited through protests that expressed the political and economic injustices practiced by the judicial section of these nations. I believe these 2 shocks are the major catalysts for the development and implementation of the SDGs, by the UN.

Though the noble intention of the SDGs is apparent, yet I cannot help but think it is the developed and first-world nations attempt to avoid Rosseau’s anecdote:

When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich”

I believe the Occupy Movement is an epitome of the above anecdote. While, the access to information, the internet fosters, and the connectivity that social media fosters are credited for the Arab spring. As it is the increased access to information that frees the mind from all forms of oppression and tyranny; Even Thomas Jefferson agrees with me:

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.” ― Thomas Jefferson

Implementing the SDGs in Africa’s Emerging Judicial System

With my annual check-up call with my business partner, turned brother, he shared with me how one of his mentors advised him to align his 10-year vision to one to three of the SDGs, which gave me goosebumps. Because, in my responsibilities with BiD Network, an Impact Investment Advisory Firm, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Africa, we focus our investment and support activities on SMEs that are Impact aligned, which means we invest and support businesses, with missions that support one or more of the SDGs.

If you have a curious mind like me, I am sure you will probably ask, why I chose the Judicial System in Africa’s EMs as an evidence to prove that I am not that idealist who is blind to the implications of implementing his ideas.

Truth be told, the answer to the question above is in two folds:

1. It is credited to hubris because I believe that righting the Judicial System in Africa’s EMs is equivalent to untying the Gordian Knot — I’m addicted to the dopamine rush that comes from solving difficult problems. And,

2. 2. It is credited to efficiency and effectiveness. Because I agree with Suzy Kassem, when she wrote:

“When people can get away with crimes just because they are wealthy or have the right connections, the scales are tipped against fairness and equality. The weight of corruption then becomes so heavy that it creates a dent that forces the world to become slanted, so much so — that justice just slips off.”

―Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

While, the rational and logical reason is solely attributed to what academic literature has concluded, which is that “a good legal framework and well-established property rights are essential for overall economic growth” and that “financial sector development is higher in countries with better legal systems and stronger creditor rights since such environments increase the ability of lenders to collateralize their loans and finance firms, as well explained in Stijn Claessens and Luc Laeven’s work titled Financial Development, Property Rights, and Growth.

To further buttress the importance of the Judicial System, I will use the Judicial Systems Objectives, as published by the Government of Sweden: The objective of criminal policy is to reduce crime and increase public security. The objective of the judicial system is to ensure the rule of law and legal security for individuals. The ‘rule of law’ means that the administration of justice and other exercises of public authority must be predictable and consistent and must be conducted to a high standard. ‘Legal security’ means that private individuals and other legal entities must be protected from criminal attacks on life, health, freedom, integrity, and property.

Conclusion

Thus, it is no error that the UN made SDG №16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. For me, I believe SDGs №1 to 15 can only thrive in nations that have implemented and pursuing the right existence of SDG №16.

“If we want truth and justice to rule our global village, there must be no hypocrisy. If there is no truth, then there will be no equality. No equality, no justice. No justice, no peace. No peace, no love. No love, only darkness.”

― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Now, make no error, for any organization or institution to align its goals or missions to any of the SDGs is no small task, with the SDGs having over 247 indicators, to help institutions deploy and evaluate the implementation of these goals. So, attempting to implement them requires thorough analytical-practical thinking.

If you have read this far, thank you. But for the respect of your time, I will close the curtains on Pt. 1 of this post, in pt. 2, we will explore the analytical-practical implications when an African EM nation, implements SDG №16 in its Judicial system. I chose Nigeria, as I am a Nigerian, where I and other millennials grew up witnessing the injustice in our Judicial system. And, I can tell you for a fact that the Nigerian Millennials, have made light of the situation, by adding this injustice to their entertainment, where the easiest example is Falz’s This is Nigeria parody, of Childish Gambino’s controversial This is America.

“When looter and killers and stealers are still contesting election o
Politicians wey thief some billions and billion no dey go prison o “
– Falz, This is Nigeria

To Be Continued…

Like always, I remain radically open-minded to your comments and perspective, to any flaws in my proposition.

By the way, in my last article, Climate Change vs SDGs awareness, I left a link for you to test your Climate Change and SDGs awareness, here’s the direct link to the form. I’ll appreciate your input in the form. Thank you in advance.

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