74th UNGA: Takeaways For Nasarawa From Gov Sule’s New York Trip

By Ali Abare

Leadership, according to John Valk and co, is about ideas and actions. Put simply, it’s about implementing new ideas into creative actions to achieve desired results. Of course, leadership requires knowledge and insights.

According to experts, leadership equally requires a kind of awareness beyond the immediate, an awareness of the larger picture-of paradigms that direct us, beliefs that sustain us, values that guide us and principles that motivate us, our worldviews.

Since his assumption of office as the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engineer Abdullahi Sule has continuously demonstrated a rare capacity for thinking outside the box, his clear cut ability to initiate new ideas that are in tune with global realities, in as much as the management of both human and financial resources are concerned.

There is no better place where this sterling leadership was aptly demonstrated than at the recently concluded 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where Engineer Sule formed part of the delegation that accompanied President Muhammadu Buhari to the event.

The 193 member states of the United Nations are represented in the General Assembly, which is one of the six main organs of the UN, to discuss and work together on a wide array of intellectual issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations, such as development, peace and security, international law, among other issues.

Every year in September, all the members meet in this unique forum in New York for the General Assembly session.

The 74th session of the UN General Assembly opened on September 17, with the high-level general debates taking place as from September 24. During the week-long debates, several other high-level events were equally convened.

Precisely, on Monday, September 23, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutierrez, convened a climate summit, with the UNGA holding a one-day high-level meeting on universal health coverage. The following day, the UNGA convened a meeting of the UN high-level political forum on Sustainable Development, which lasted for two days. On Thursday, September 26, the UNGA held a high-level dialogue on financing for development (FfD), as well as a high-level meeting on the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Undoubtedly, the session provided the opportunity for Engineer Sule to rob minds with participants at such high-level meetings, seizing on the window of opportunity to showcase not only the potentials and endowments of Nasarawa State to the world but also present to the international development partners, the economic blueprint of his administration, particularly, the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS).

President Buhari opened discourse for African countries at the session, where he envisioned a developed Africa that will not be antagonistic to industrialized countries but will become friends and partners in prosperity, security and development. According to the President, for the United Nation Agenda 2030, which envisages a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want to succeed, various obstacles faced by member nations must be addressed through collective action.

Indeed, various speakers spoke on issues ranging from challenges of development financing, threats due to climate change, insecurity and peace, with each proffering workable solutions that could be applied to address challenges of development across the globe.

Aside of the themes of the general debates at the session, Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule participated in several other side-line meetings

The Africa Investment Summit held on fringes of the UNGA from 25-26 September, 2019, under the theme: “Unlocking Investment Opportunities in African Markets.” The programme was structured to focus a global beam of attention on opportunities for international investment partnerships in the African economy.

Research on the just concluded UNGA showed that this year’s African Investment Summit was designed to put Nigeria’s economy at the centre-stage of global conversation at a time country leaders from around the world were in New York, with the high-level event presenting a unique platform to address and engage the international community with a view to building development partnerships.

Indeed, the Africa Investment Summit 2019 highlighted the immense development, humanitarian and business opportunities in Nigeria to a global audience of Heads of State and Government, Policy Makers, Investors and Country delegations to the United Nations General Assembly. Notable speakers at previous events included Former American President, George W. Bush, Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and the 66th US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. A host of leaders in politics and business from across the globe have also attended and addressed the summit.

The event attracted world leaders and over 1000 business leaders from some of the largest corporations from across the globe. Members of leading policy think-tanks and businesses in the United States as well as business leaders and policy makers from across the globe.

The Africa Investment Summit provided an opportunity to increase investor’s confidence and boost Nigeria’s investment drive. Just as it is expected to also jumpstart the economy on a higher gear and accelerates Nigeria’s momentum on the development drive.

Engineer Sule participated actively in the summit, addressing high-level participants at the session where he spoke copiously on the potentials of the state and appealing to international investors to come to Nasarawa State.

The governor particularly highlighted the agricultural potentials of the state and the strides of his administration towards commercial agriculture in the area of rice production.

He further canvassed for investment to the state in the areas of education health, mass housing and agriculture.

“We had a side event which I attended in order to showcase Nasarawa to attract investments and so, we focused our investment drive on those areas.

“We are looking for people who will come into the state to invest in the areas of education because Nasarawa State is not where we wish to be when it comes to education.

“The same thing with health. A lot of our health facilities are government-sponsored facilities. So, we are also discussing with investors in that area.

“Nasarawa is a ready market because of our population, because of our proximity to Abuja, and it is a ready market for any serious investor,” the governor told journalists shortly after the general assembly.

Engineer Sule, who expressed confidence that the people of Nasarawa State will derive direct benefits from the issues tackled at the 74th UNGA like climate change, insecurity and the return of illicitly channelled funds from Nigeria, described the session as unique because the issue of climate change and illicit financial flows were at the root of the insecurity and other economic problems in Nigeria.

“Luckily for us, we came in at a time so many other countries are also having the same challenges that we are having. If you look at it from that direction, you will see some of the direct benefits.”

The governor said the meeting equally gave him the opportunity to discuss immunization with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as Aliko Dangote, and various government, donor agencies on agriculture and industry and the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.

“The situation we found ourselves in Nasarawa, is similar to one of the issues discussed during the SDGs presentation. We are fighting security challenge by going to the root cause of the insecurity.

“We are embracing the National Livestock Transformation Project, we have more locations than any of the 7 pioneer states. We are also doing lots of advocacy, a lot of sensitization for people to understand the importance of living in peace. We have to find various solutions to our Nigerian challenges,” the governor told journalists in New York.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched by the UN’s 193 member nations in 2015 in a bid to tackle conflict, hunger, land degradation, gender inequality, climate change, and other global ills, by 2030.

The most outstanding takeaway from the New York trip for Nasarawa State was however when Engineer Sule presented the state’s economic blueprint to the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Hajiya Amina Mohammed.

The governor reportedly informed the UN Deputy Scribe, the determination of his administration to make Nasarawa State one of the most competitive states in Nigeria by 2023.

“Nasarawa State was the only state that presented a coordinated and detailed blueprint for development tagged: Nasarawa State Economic Development Strategy (NEDS) at the congregation of Nations,” Engineer Sule further disclosed.

Already, the benefits from the New York trip have begun to bear fruits, with the recent directives by the state government for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to integrate state budgets and development plans into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This move, according to the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the governor on SDGs, Abubakar Murtala Mohammad, will bring about “improved budget performance, a more transparent fiscal policy framework, efficiency in resource allocations and effective internal revenue generation.”

Abare is a Special Assistant on Media to Nasarawa State Governor, His Excellency, Engineer Abdullahi Sule.

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