"“You must inspire and shape a better future that includes everyone."
In her overview of the task of nation building, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed has charged State Governors in Nigeria to deliver on their campaign promises before leaving the office.
“The first term goes very fast, and the second term even faster. Campaign promises made must be delivered, and that’s hard. It requires an effective team, one that can deliver on those promises that have been made,” she said at the 2023 Nigeria Governors’ Forum induction for new and returning State Governors held 14 - 17 May 2023, in Abuja.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General emphasised that “The only way to build a more cohesive nation and a more harmonious world is to deliver better for people: Better services, better opportunities, better safety, better government, and a healthier environment.”
She acknowledged that resource constraints were very real and that prioritising, phasing and levering other partnerships would be key; while communicating and consulting would create fewer distractions and manage expectations.
Mohammed said further that under the constitution of Nigeria, State Governors have the authority and the responsibility to deliver on critical foundations of infrastructure and basic services and rights of people that can deliver on social and economic development.
She emphasised, “But to do so, you must lead, whether it is from the front, the side or from the back. The word that runs across all is leadership. You must inspire and shape a better future that includes everyone.”
Noting that every state has a different starting point, different assets, challenges and different circumstances, the UN Deputy Secretary-General highlighted four common areas where action and attention are urgently needed everywhere: “First, you will need institutional capacity; Second, you will need trusted partnerships; third, financing, the means of implementation; and fourth and finally, the area that is most in your hands: leadership.”
She further urged the State Governors to bring the population on the journey with them, and balance the political economy for the benefit of all and not just a few. “You must inspire and shape a better future that includes everyone. You must also open up to your political adversaries and govern with vision, courage, tolerance and humility.” She added, “You must take every opportunity to have women and youth not just at the table but empowered to make a meaningful contribution to the discourse.”
Ms Mohammed assured that “Our Resident Coordinators and our UN Country Teams are here in Nigeria at your service but also across borders in the continent. And the new Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework between the United Nations and the Government of Nigeria, which is the bedrock of our collaboration and shared pursuit of the SDGs but also of the African Union’s 2063 Agenda.”
She noted that beyond the formal support for programming and policy work, the UN is also in Nigeria to convene and to broker partnerships that are necessary to carry the nation’s priorities forward.
The Chairman of the Forum, and Governor of Sokoto State, H.E. Aminu Tambuwal, said the induction seminar was organised to support the new governors in developing the essential skills for democratic governance.
“To kickstart this post-election democratic process, we have invited governance experts, bureaucrats, and entrepreneurs, within and outside the shores of this country, to share their expertise on democratic governance in a diverse political economy with unique peculiarities in the modern governance framework.” He said.
He acknowledged the presence of democratic leaders from Africa, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America, who have obliged to share their vast experience with the participants.