It is important for Nigeria’s leaders to see young people as assets or else they will not eventually have a peaceful retirement.
The Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, gave the advice on Tuesday when she visited the secretariat of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), as part of her tour of some West African States. including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Chad, and the Niger Republic.
A statement from the NGF Secretariat spokesperson, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, noted that the advice was in reaction to the #EndSARS protest in some parts of the country.
In her response to pleas by the governors for assistance from the UN, Mohammed said the organisation does not write cheques but creates an environment for those who have the cheques to do so.
She, however, commended the governors for the mature manner in which they handled the demonstrations, although she regretted that some ugly influences eventually contaminated the protests.
Welcoming the DSG to the secretariat, NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, listed some of the challenges of governance in the country and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected Nigeria’s economy.
He stated that while the virus hit Nigeria later than other countries, its impact has been ravaging with over 64,090 confirmed cases and 1,154 deaths.
Other impacts, the governor noted, included the fall in oil prices, contracting tax base, loss of sources of livelihood, unemployment, youth restiveness, increasing inflation rate, worsening exchange rate, and decline in productivity due to necessary lockdown measures initiated globally and nationally.
Governor Fayemi explained that as a responsive group, members of the NGF worked collaboratively, co-opting ideas and welcoming support from critical stakeholders, including partners and the private sector.
“In the wake of the pandemic, we worked with the Federal Government to ensure the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Presidential Task Force (PTF), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development got all the support they required in delivering swift containment measures,” he told the DSG.
He added, “At the National Economic Council (NEC) level, we developed a COVID-19 response plan encompassing health, economic and socio-economic, immediate to medium-term measures needed to combat the virus and its impact.”
The NGF chairman said the pandemic compelled governors to see the “need for retooling ourselves on how best to become accountable to the electorate.”
Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri, and his Imo State counterpart, Governor Hope Uzodinma, attended the meeting in person while many others joined by zoom from their respective states.