Service to humanity is the highest calling, and Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has embodied the commitment throughout her remarkable journey over the last 64 years. Her tireless commitment, particularly to sustainable development, resonates with the wisdom of renowned American philosopher, educator and psychologist, William James, a notable philosopher, who wrote: ‘The greatest use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.’ –
As Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire celebrates her 64th birthday, her life and achievements become the mirror that captures the testament to the remarkable impact an individual can make on their nation and the world. Inevitably therefore, this special report is an attempt to reflect on her illustrious journey as a trailblazer in the realm of sustainable development. Notably, the reflection becomes even more relevant as her 64th birthday coincides with her reappointment as the Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a role she has held with distinction for a while now.
A Legacy of Excellence
Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire’s journey in public service has been marked by unwavering dedication, innovative leadership and a deep commitment. That explains why her achievements in various public offices she has held left indelible marks. It is therefore not a surprise that her commitment to Nigeria’s pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, are a source of joy to many. Just as well, her impact has resulted in many recognitions, home and abroad.
In 2023, the United Nations bestowed upon her the prestigious SDGs Champions award, recognizing her groundbreaking achievements as the head of Nigeria’s SDGs implementing office. The UN’s commendation of her accomplishments speaks volumes about her contributions to the global sustainable development agenda.
Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire’s tenure as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals has been marked by transformative leadership. Among others, she played a pivotal role in positioning Nigeria as a global leader in sustainable development.
One of her notable achievements centered around championing Nigeria’s country-led evaluations of specific SDGs, including health and education. Nigeria’s status as number one in the Global South to conduct independent SDG policy evaluations underscores her commitment to evidence-based decision-making.
Furthermore, her leadership led to the launch of the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF), a critical step in ensuring that Nigeria’s commitment to the SDGs is adequately funded. This initiative is pivotal in securing sustainable financing for the country’s SDG-related projects.
Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire’s impact extends beyond Nigeria’s borders. She spearheaded Nigeria’s sponsorship of a United Nations resolution aimed at strengthening Voluntary National Reviews through Country-led Evaluation. This initiative received support from numerous countries, highlighting Nigeria’s influence in promoting robust evaluation mechanisms for monitoring SDG progress worldwide.
Her strategic vision, collaborative partnerships and innovative initiatives have not been any less revolutionary, helping to position Nigeria as a trailblazer in the SDGs implementation journey. Her ability to foster cooperation among stakeholders has been instrumental in driving sustainable development initiatives.
Institutional Frameworks for Success
Upon assuming office, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire left no stone unturned in ensuring that the country established essential institutional frameworks for the effective implementation of its SDGs. This included the Presidential Council for the SDGs, the Private Sector Advisory Group, the Donors Partnership Forum and the Civil Society Strategy Group. These partnerships have been instrumental in advancing the SDGs agenda in Nigeria.
Tangible Impact on the Ground
Under her leadership, significant investments and key intervention projects were initiated because they were important to the process of accelerating the progress towards the SDGs. These initiatives spanned across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Notable achievements include the construction and furnishing of over 9,000 classrooms, 66 Skill Acquisition Centres, and the supply of specialized hospital beds to various healthcare facilities.
The commitment to building healthcare infrastructure, including Mother and Child Hospitals and Primary Healthcare Centres, also reflects her dedication to ensuring that no one is left behind in the pursuit of sustainable development.
Awards and Recognitions
For her remarkable service in public office, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has received numerous awards and recognitions, both locally and internationally. These accolades reflect her unwavering dedication to empowering women, youth, children and her advocacy for the rights of vulnerable populations.
As we celebrate Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire on her 64th birthday and her reappointment as the Senior Special Assistant to President Tinubu on Sustainable Development Goals, SSAP-SDGs, it is evident that her journey has been one of relentless dedication and visionary leadership. Not less are her truly remarkable impacts on Nigeria’s sustainable development journey and influence on the global stage.
Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire stands out as a beacon of inspiration, one that proves the power of committed individuals in driving sustainable change. Without any doubt, her legacies will continue to shape Nigeria’s path toward achieving the SDGs in ways that will leave lasting imprints on the nation and the world.
Utomwen is a journalist and wrote from Abuja
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