Laolu Akande, former media aide to immediate past Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has charged President Bola Tinubu with providing appropriate foreign policy direction to back up his commendable and well-articulated speech at the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States.
Akande, currently in New York covering the UN General Assembly’s General Debate, expressed his thoughts while appearing as a guest analyst live on Channel TV’s morning show, Sunrise Daily.
“What the president needs to do now is assemble his foreign policy team and articulate a clear foreign policy that reflects some of the important ideals he has spoken about,” he said.
“So that in all the things that we do at the level of international relations, starting of course from what is our domestic policies, people can see that we have a new Nigeria that wants to retake its place in its international relationships and also wants to be the spokesperson for the development of Africa and the developing world,” Akande said of Tinubu’s “important agenda” at the UN.
Similarly, Akande stated that in order to achieve a portion of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the country, the Federal Government must adopt a stick-and-carrot approach with the state government, particularly in the area of compulsory education for students in their first nine years of academic pursuit.
I think one of the things the Federal Government should do is to adopt a stick and carrot approach to these things and tie incentives and some consequences to show states are supposed to step up in these important areas.
For instance, look at the issue of education, so, by a constitutional mandate, every Nigerian child ought to have compulsory education for the first nine years. But guess what, these issues are domiciled in the subnational, state and local governments. And as you know, there is even Federal Government funding for universal education through SUBEB, and in many instances, the states are not coming up with their own margin ground to be able to tap into the available money at the federal level.
So, the question of getting the states to collaborate is very critical. There can be no sustainable development in a federal country like ours without a consistent and active collaboration between the Federal Government and the state government.
What I will suggest to take this thing more seriously is to adopt a stick and carrot approach and I think the president has promised.
You will remember that a few months ago, the President decided that look we are going to hold back a portion of the increase we have seen in the federal allocation for infrastructure, though there were arguments and altercation at the federal allocation committee where the idea came up. But guess what, the President insisted and got his way.
So, it is that kind of engagement consistently to let the states know that this thing has to be done because you guys in the state you know that is where development happens and it will even be useful for Nigerians to understand that all the focus, all the attention, all the criticism and all the observation should not be going to the federal alone. Yet, the federal carries the biggest burden everybody knows that as we continue to engage, Akande said.