Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire: Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs)

Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has been in charge of the office of senior special assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs) since 2016. Her appointment follows a track record of service with passion for uplifting the vulnerable members of society.

She is in charge of Nigeria’s office for inter-governmental coordination, multi-stakeholders’ partnership, resource mobilization, extensive advocacy and communication for SDGs in the country. She has, over the five years of her appointment, worked with other stakeholders to gear up the processes of attainment of the global goals in the country.

Attainment of the global goals requires strategic interventions in the social sectors needed to advance the pace of their realization. Orelope-Adefulire has delivered on a number of these strategic interventions.

Her office has commissioned a 100-bed Mother and Child Centre in Ifon, Ondo State, adding to the number of such facilities realised under her tenor or in process across several states of the federation, including Lagos, Kwara, Kano, Kaduna and Adamawa. Others are Yobe, Benue, Abia, Kogi and Oyo states.

Other strategic interventions in the health sector under her purview include the 80-bed prototype hospitals being established across the country as well as refurbishment of health facilities among others.

The strategic intervention in the health sector is targeted at SDG-3 on ‘Quality Health and Well-being for all’ and other cross-cutting SDGs and also to help tackle the problems of prevalence of maternal and child mortality in the country. 

OSSAP-SDGs is also working with other key sectors and organisation in its intervention in the education sector. These include federal ministry of education, state governments, the Governors’ Forum and the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development. Its key objective is get every hand on deck to find a solution to the problem of out of school children in Nigeria.

The office is implementing a number of programmes and initiatives as part of its interventions for economic empowerment of Nigerian youth and women in various parts of the country. This includes the construction of a 208-bed model transit facility in Ekiti State for life-long skills acquisition by women and girls, who have suffered abuses and domestic violence to rebuild their lives for a better future.

The office has also commissioned a Skills Acquisition Centre in Ile-Oluji community, Ondo State, which is designed to reduce unemployment and poverty through the springing of small and medium scale enterprises. The centre has been commissioned in Benue State and some other states while others are on-going across the country.

It is Orelope-Adefulire’s desire to ensure that no state is left behind. OSSAP-SDGs has built 200 houses for persons displaced by insurgency in Borno State and similar projects are on-going across the north-east.

She considers the effort to address the challenges of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria as the way forward to national development. This she has pursued through the provision of state of the art vocational and skill acquisition centres across the states of the federation.

She said massive investment in skills acquisition centres is meant to provide a strategic tool for economic empowerment of the youth. According to her, this was hinged on the realisation that no meaningful progress can be made in the areas of economic development, security and stamping out of corruption in society without productive engagement of the youth.

The facilities offer training in vocations like sewing, fashion & dressmaking, information and communications technology, photography and hair styling & cosmetology. Others are barbing, catering, tiling & interlocking, aluminium fabrication & welding, automobile and plumbing.

OSSAP-SDGs has also launched the Nigeria Sustainable Development Goals Implementation Plan 2020-2030, with support from the United Nations Development Programme. This avails a comprehensive roadmap for federal and state governments as well as diverse stakeholders on the implementation of the SDGs.

Orelope-Adefulire said this is part of the strategic partnerships and support that demonstrate collective commitment to the transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda. She added that it would further strengthen SDGs’ implementation capacity at all levels of governance in Nigeria.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a diploma in social works. She is also an alumna of Lagos State University and holds an honorary degree of the university.

She was elected into the Lagos house of assembly and served as the chairman, House Service Committee. She was appointed electoral commissioner by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commissioner in 2002.

She held the position of Lagos State commissioner for women affairs for two terms from 2003 to 2011 before she was elected deputy governor of Lagos State in 2011. 

Some of her achievements as commissioner for Women Affairs include the sponsorship of the Child Right’s Law as well as the Domestic Violence Law in Lagos State – the first of such laws to be enacted in Nigeria.

In her passion for the empowerment of vulnerable members of society, Orelope-Adefulire established 22 functional skills acquisition centres in Lagos State. The centres have enabled thousands of young men and women to be economically self-reliant and independent.

She also constructed a 176-bed Transit Home for victims of domestic violence and abuses and also built the first multipurpose home/clinic for children with disabilities in Lagos State. She also promoted routine medical screening for women as well as the Girl Child Education Initiative.