An Environmentalist and former Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun has charged Nigerian Managers and administrators to embrace the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations if they must influence every strata of the society.

Fagbohun stated this at a luncheon organized by the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) as part of a week long activities to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the Institute. The event took place at Management House, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island Lagos.

He said. “We cannot have it better than this kind of federal government hence the need to harness your strength not only to fulfill your responsibiltity to your shareholders, customers, and consumers but principally to the society.

“When you give yourselves to the society, and there is crisis or disaster, hardly would people go to destroy your property. But when you are aloof from your community: you have good roads, and electricity within your little space, and your community is langusihing in poverty, the day they would cast the first stone, you would be the first victim.”

He urged members of the institute to begin to look at how to deepen the relationship with the host community, even as they poised for more in the next sixty years. “The way to start is to intentionally start focusing on adopting the Sustainable Development Goals which was documented in September 2015 and adopted when the United Nations came together and sat down to look at it. 193 countries were there and they came up with 17 goals and about 163 sub goals that they were going to implement.

“The fulcrum of the SDG goals is hinged on three planks: Environment, Economy and Society. And one of the examples from those goals the Institute can play a role as trainers of managers and administrators is to take up the leadership of training people on the goals.

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“If you talk about goal No 1, it is about how to reduce poverty and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) improves on what an organization is doing. You can ensure that companies comply with human rights, labour laws, among others. You can embark upon reducing poverty and supporting people,” he charged them.
He noted that when an organization was not perpetuating poverty with its policies, it would be supporting the system and society to grow.

He added that the institute could equally take goal 13 on climate change, which was a major challenge affecing our world and do something that would work in tandem with the environment. “When you produce, don’t do it at the detriment of your community. Don’t expend the resources of your community without taking them onboard. How I wish the money people are spending now to meet damages of activities done by them over time was used to develop and support their communities. And what some companies do in Nigeria because implementation of laws are laxed, they would not do it in their own countries.”

He advised the Institute to step in, support and guide them right through training of their managers to be influencers that would carry forward the idea.

He identified three categories of people that would come up when one talks about sustainable development goals. He listed them as the responsible stewards who would work with the Institute and learn the rudiments, making it a win win between business and developing the society, the political operatives who would continue to pay lipservice, and the ignorant denialists who would tell you there was nothing like poverty because people were not eating from the dustbin.

While charging members of the Institute to join the league of responsible stewards, professor Fagbohun tasked them with being intentional in embracing the SDG goals by putting in an ambitious target to be able to achieve the goals. “Ensure you are consistent in the way you apply it by partnering with like minds, encourage others and bring them onboard, and you must be accountable. SDG goals is like the internet, if you don’t want to be part of it, you would be living in the past before you realized it,” he said.

In a goodwill message, Director General, Institute of Directors Bamidele Alliu who represened the president, Dr Ije Jidenma challenged the Institute on nurturing young managers adding that people must be trained to take responsibility from youth. He tasked the Institute with intensifying programmes of going to universities to induct young people.