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UNGA 78: First Lady, governors’ wives move to address “Japa” syndrome

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Oluremi Tinubu

 

Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, the First Lady of Nigeria, has called on the diasporas to contribute their quota to the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

She also called on Nigerian youths to have hope in the efforts of the current administration to deliver on the dividends of democracy and provide for their basic needs.

According to the UN, in 2022, 26,400 Nigerian citizens requested asylum abroad while 27,000 Nigerian citizens were recongnised as refuges and granted protection in 2022.

Mrs Tinubu made the call on Monday at the New York 2023 Nigeria Economic Growth and Trade Summit with the theme“ Stemming Migration Flows by Providing Basic Needs’’ at Nigeria House in New York.

The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports the summit was organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) .

The first lady said while migration could offer new opportunities and experiences, it also presented risks and challenges that could manifest in brain drain.

“The brain drain phenomenon where highly skilled individuals leave their home country for supposedly better prospects abroad, is a concern for many African nations, depriving them of their expertise and talents needed for sustainable growth.

“In our various communities, we must work towards creating conditions and providing basic needs that allow people to thrive by providing access to qualitative education, an enabling environment for job creation.

“And the development of local industries that will create viable economic opportunities.

“We must revamp our healthcare sector to ensure basic health care services are accessible to all.

“Improve health care conditions and stronger social support system that discourage migration driven by health concerns.

“Also, combating food security by investing in sustainable agricultural programs, especially in rural areas, can reduce the pressure of rural urban migration.

“I can’t over emphasise the need for conflict resolution and promotion of peace and stability in regions prone to violence,’’ she said.

Tinubu, however, commended the first ladies for their initiatives, noting that complementing the efforts of their husbands would enhance economic empowerment in their respective states.

She said by fostering collaboration and unity amongst themselves, they had been able to achieve a lot more by learning from one another.

“The Renewed Hope Initiative is an initiative that we just started, aimed at creating a better life for families.

“Our scope covers agriculture, education, economic empowerment, health and social investment, focusing on women and the youth, who are the bedrock of the society.

 

“As youths account for 70 per cent of our population and women represent 49.6 per cent of the population.

“I believe that schemes which focus on empowering this demographic, coupled with an enabling environment, will gradually begin to reverse the negative trend of migration.’’

She told the wives of the governors that as first ladies, their roles as leaders, were critical to driving sustainable change within their communities.

“You must work together with government agencies to complement and support the establishment of laws that protect human rights and provide equal opportunities.

“Policy reforms that encourage skilled individuals to return home after obtaining educational experience abroad, can help reverse the dream.

“We must continue to acknowledge the good work of international agencies, well-meaning individuals in the diaspora and in the private sector, are doing in our nation.

“Through fora like this, we can encourage diaspora engagement, establish avenues for Nigerians living abroad to contribute to the country’s development.

“Through investment, knowledge sharing, and collaborations which can help mitigate the negative effects of brain drain.’’

The first lady urged Nigerians to foster a positive narrative, celebrate their cultural heritage, national achievements and promote a sense of pride in Nigeria.

According to her, Nigeria is on the brink of a major economic recovery of buoyancy.

She charged Nigerian youths to learn the virtues of patience and resilience as everyone continued to work as a collective to help build a greater and better Nigeria.

Also speaking, Nigeria governors’ wives forum Chairperson, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, the wife of Kwara State Governor, called for support to provide basic needs for the citizens to stem migration flows.

AbdulRazaq expressed hope that the deliberations and outcome of the summit would further stronger partnerships and credible responses with lasting effects that would assuage the emigration concerns as well as aid shared prosperity.

“ We hope everyone will support the forum in all her programmes for New York in 2024 as we look forward to participating in Women’s ’ month in March 2024 and UNGA.

“ We hope to deepen all engagements formed in realising our common goods to the benefit of our country and the glory of God,’’ she said.

NAN reports that no fewer than 12 wives of the governors were at the event.

They included the first ladies of Oyo State, Mrs Tamunominini Makinde; Ogun, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun; Imo, Mrs Chioma Uzodimma; and Gombe, Hajiya Asma’u Yahaya.

Also in attendance were the first Ladies of Lagos State, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; Borno, Mrs Falmata Zulum and Kogi, Hajiya Rashidat Yahaya Bello.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

 

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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Relocation Of CBN: There’ll Be Consequences If Tinubu Doesn’t Reverse – Ndume

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Ali Ndume represents Borno South Senatorial District and is Chief Whip in the 10th Senate

Ndume & Seun Okin

On the relocation of some agencies of the FG to Abuja and the apprehension of the Northern elite

Ndume: It’s not just about our Northern colleagues, this is a consensus because we only have one Federal Capital and that is Abuja. All these “Lagos boys_ that are thinking that Lagos is Nigeria are just misinforming or advising the President wrongly.

The Regulators of the financial institutions are supposed to be or are in Abuja. You want them to move because they say Lagos is the commercial capital. These are one of the mistakes and I am sure Mr President will reverse it because it doesn’t work. You can’t have two capitals or is the CBN Governor going to be operating from Lagos or the headquarters of the CBN is in Lagos?

Do you now say majority of our oil is extracted from the South South, you take NNPC to South South or is it because Nigeria’s agricultural base is more in the North, you take the Ministry of Agriculture to anywhere in the North. It doesn’t work that way and that is one of the problems that is cropping up but I am very sure and confident that Mr President will look at this because he is a Nationalist and not just a Lagos man. Some of these people, I repeat, some of these people think Lagos is Nigeria. Lagos is not Nigeria, Lagos is not the headquarters of Nigeria, the headquarters of Nigeria is in Abuja.

Seun Okin: …but the CBN is saying some departments are only moving to Lagos for operational purposes

Ndume: Which operational purposes? Why was the headquarters moved from Lagos to Abuja, is it not because of the same congestion?

Seun Okin: …only some units and departments are moving…

Ndume: If you are talking about proximity and space, why not you take them to Nasarawa, Kogi or Kaduna just nearby so that you can decongest the place and I even don’t see any issue of congestion, because there is just going to be cost because they will also be running from Lagos to Abuja everytime spending more money and even exposing the workers to unnecessary risks. This is a decision that is not well-thought out and I think the President will do something about it, I am confident of that. If that does not happen, of course this is democracy, we know what to do.

 

Seun Okin: ..and what will that be?

Ndume: That will be when the President refuses to reverse it

Seun Okin: What will be the reaction?

Ndume: The reaction right now is don’t try to bring in the case of tribalism into it. I am not a Hausa or Fulani man but I am a Northerner and I am a Nigerian first. And we say that since the headquarters of Nigeria was moved from Lagos because of congestion and inefficiency to Abuja where it is more Central and more of no man’s land because the Gwaris and Gbagyis are the only people there. We have enough space there, CBN can rent any office or even build from scratch to increase efficiency but moving some departments to Lagos is not the best of ideas at all or even moving any agency for that matter.

Seun Okin: Is there any political undertone or ulterior motive ..?

Ndume: I don’t want to believe there is, because I know the President that much, just that those political cartels that I told you, are in the corridors of power and trying to misinform the President.

The President will take action because he is a man that listens and corrects anything.

Some of them (political cartels) think they know better than everybody but they don’t know anything.

When you don’t know Nigeria, you only know Lagos then you start doing things as if Nigeria is Lagos.

Besides, they are not doing any favour to Mr President because this could have political consequences.

Seun Okin: Really?

Ndume: Yes, I am telling you this and those guys who are just sitting in their offices trying to hang onto Mr President will not be there to amend the political mistakes or even to correct it because they only know their offices and they only know that they have brains. It’s politics.. Was it not politics that brought them to that office in the first place? If Tinubu had not won the election as the President, will the CBN Governor be where he is today?

Who brought Mr President to that office? Was it votes from Lagos that brought him to that office? No way, Lagos is in Nigeria and we will not accept this wrong decision.

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