President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday joined dignitaries and world leaders in Abuja to extol the virtues of Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, on her 60th birthday, just as he projected her to take over the world’s number one civil servant’s position in six years.
Buhari presented his goodwill message at a symposium organised by the Centre for Public Research and Development to commemorate Amina’s 60th birthday.
The President who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Agboola Ibrahim Gambari congratulated her for the feat she has attained on the global stage.
He said Amina’s recent reappointment was one of the testaments of her credentials.
Gambari said: “It’s not surprising therefore that after completing her first term as Deputy Secretary-General, the UN Secretary-General graciously reappointed her for a second term, the second African and the first to be done by a female African, of course, a Nigerian.
“On this note, I am optimistic that she will become the first female Secretary-General. Who knows, six years is not far from here.”
Similarly, former Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson called on Nigerian politicians to take a cue from Liberia to elect the first female president in the country and second in the African continent.
She made the call in her keynote address at the symposium in honour of Amina. She described her as a force of nature and consensus builder, who had over time beaten every odd to pride herself as a global brand.
She said Amina “is not only ripe for the plum job but also qualified, given her experience.”
Sirleaf-Johnson adds: “Would it not be good to have a second elected female African president in Nigeria. The support by men would be a stepping stone because they must recognise the capabilities and contributions of women to sustain the government for the peace and security of the nation. Those of you our fathers, our brothers, our sons in this room; we are wives, we are sisters, we are daughters, you have all the rights, they look to you to give them votes to bring the change.”
El-Rufai: Amina, An Inspiration to Young Daughters
At the symposium, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State described Amina as an inspiration to girls.
He said, “She is an inspiration not only to us but to all our young daughters who can now grow up confident that their role is not just relegated to being a housewife, they can be anything they want to be, from being a minister to being governor.
“You do not know how many female young girls you have inspired and whose lives you will change simply from your examples. The responsibilities that exist when a person gets educated, develop networks, and do things to pursue better humanity for all of us.
“We hope and wish you many more years. We hope to be here one day to celebrate your 100th birthday, there may be advances in medical sciences and obviously, she knows, she may just be there for another 40 years. I doubt if I would be there because I take too many risks and create many problems. I don’t think I would be allowed to last for so long.”
He continued: “I said this because Amina may have origin in Gombe State but she spent most of her life not in Gombe State but Kaduna State to the extent that when she was nominated as ministerial nominee as cabinet minister by President Buhari, there were petitions from people in Kaduna State accusing me of nominating my friend and sister as minister from our State, referring to the constitution that even though she was born and brought up in Kaduna State, they don’t care what the constitution says, she has to be an indigene of Kaduna State, which she was not.”
Sirleaf emphasised on the need to strengthen gender equality globally and allow women exercise their rights politically “to bridge the gaps gender iniquity has continued to create.”
She said Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, had set an example in his administration by giving women equal opportunity for political offices and appointments and such most be replicated both at state and national levels in Nigeria.
“I am elated by the example of the Governor of Kaduna State because in Liberia, we look up to women in leadership, leadership in all aspects. Would it not be good to have a second elected female African president in Nigeria?”
‘Amina Mohammed, Role Model for Young Nigerians’
In a related development, the FCT Minister, Malam Mohammed Musa Bello has described the UN Deputy Secretary-General as an inspiration and a role model to millions of young Nigerians.
He stated this yesterday during the visit of Amina to Government Secondary School Kabusa, Abuja, as part of activities to mark her 60th birthday.
The minister, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Malam Bashir Mai Borno, noted that the visit would further spur the students to realise their fullest potentials through hard work and determination.
“We are particularly delighted that you will be spending some time in our schools in Kabusa and interacting with the pupils and their teachers. This will gladden them and we thank you for this,” Bello said.
He disclosed that as part of efforts to ensure that children have access to quality education, as contained in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the FCTA had in the last three years, established 25 new secondary schools spread across the FCT in keeping with UNESCO’s recommendation that no child should walk more than two kilometres to school.
He added that entrepreneurial and vocational educations were also being prioritised in the FCT with the intention that upon graduation, students would become self-employed.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, who was visibly touched by the reception the students accorded her, urged them to focus on their studies as “they can be whatever they wish to be with education on their side,” adding, “education is the foundation of any great nation… and the first building blocks of your lives is education.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, FCT Secondary Education Board, Hon Yahaya Musa Mohammed congratulated Amina Mohammed on her reappointment as the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and urged her to use her global position to impact positively on the Nigerian education system.