Amina J Mohammed, UN Secretary General Envoy on Post 2015 Development Agenda has urged the Nigerian Youths to hold the culture of transparency and accountability as their hallmark, which according to her, is one of the key ingredients for good governance anywhere in the world. “The future of this great nation Nigeria lies in your hands, and remember you are as good as your roots, if your root is bad then you would be regarded as bad, she added. She specifically commended Follow the Money Team for the good job done so far in holding government accountable.
She said this on saturday 30th May at the meeting she had with top young Nigerian activists who are currently making a difference in their various field of endeavours such as Esther Agbarakwe of Social Good Nigeria; Rotimi of Youthhub Africa; Dotun Roy, the social development Blogger; Ojonwa, an Education Activist; Hamzat of Follow the Money, Kehinde of Next Gen; Gabriel Adeyemo of Save the children.
Amongst others. These Nigerian activists also made paper presentation of “Youth Position on Post 2015” that was developed by youth representatives at the Presidential Summit on the MDGs in September 2014.
The meeting which was made possible under the leadership of Hilary Ogbonna, Coordinator, United Nations Millenium Campaign in Nigeria had Amina spoke extensively on wide range of issues confronting Nigeria as a country ranging from Education, governance, Healthcare, Religion and culture, corruption amongst others.
We, at the United Nations, we are taking youth inclusiveness particularly in decision making as one of our priorities for the next 15 years of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, United Nations is not in any way trying to control Nigeria through SDGs. With SDGs, it is only paramount for Nigeria to look at SDGs and see whether these set goals are in line with Federal government and National development plans beginning from September 2015.
When asked the position of UN on the health development plans, she spoke specifically how critical mental issues are. “Post traumatic stress and mental stability of the Boko Haram victims are to be taken seriously as part of what SDGs are set to achieve particularly in Nigeria where high insurgents attacks have been recorded in the last 6 years. She alluded.
In pushing for more accountability structures in the public sectors most especially in the new administration, she asserted that people need to follow the Money. It is only imperative for people to know what public funds are being used for and that working UN office in Nigeria would help in facilitating this through reliable collaboration with civil society organisations and other major stakeholders pushing for Transparency and accountability in the Nigeria.
On education, she said it is not enough to just keep building schools and classrooms all over the place, we also need trained teachers for these plans to be purposeful. These are people who would impart knowledge and help build the minds of the local citizens, Communities as well as people oriented projects which allow government to understand where shoes of these pinch is also very vital.
She mentioned the UN agenda on End Poverty Scheme, “Charity is good but not the only way out of poverty because you may never be able to end poverty in your life, that’s why it isvery important for bussiness to be invested in people so as to change their mindsets that there is value for money, she affirmed.
On SDGs advocacy, “We intend to popularise SDGs on new media. It is also paramount for it to be incorporated into school curriculum because every teacher should be able to understand what SDGs is all about and equally pass it on to the students.
On the issue of religion divide she said “you cannot take our culture or religion from us because that is who we are! No religion is bad, it is those who practice it. And larger percentage of these extremists are men which makes it one difficult issue to handle, this is not with the intention to pick on men, it is the real truth! She asserted.
It is our faith in God, that has kept us together as nation this far. This has helped millions of Nigerians achieved global excellence across the world and a lot of people have tried to understand how Nigerians achieve these excellence, yet everything lies in our faith in God. An average Nigerian could hardly do without saying, by God’s Grace or Insha Allah!