Akande to Tinubu: Draw up clear-cut foreign policy to actualise UNGA speech

From left, President Bola Tinubu addressing the 78th UN General Assembly in New York, on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 ... Laolu Akande in one of his recent appearances on Channels TV. PRESIDENCY/FILE PHOTO

• Urges FG to use stick-and-carrot approach for states to achieve UN SDGs on education, others

A former presidential aide, Laolu Akande, has charged President Bola Tinubu to back his commendable and well-articulated speech at the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States, with appropriate foreign policy direction to attain desired goals.

Akande, who is currently in New York, covering proceedings at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly, expressed his views while featuring as a guest analyst live on Channel TV’s morning programme, Sunrise Daily, on Thursday, September 21, 2023.

The former award-winning journalist who is back on his beat said, “What the president must do now is to gather together his foreign policy team and articulate a clear foreign policy that will reflect some of these important ideals he has spoken about,” at the UN General Assembly.

Akande charged Tinubu must back some of the “important agenda” he set at the UN with formidable foreign policies, saying, “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.”

Similarly, to attain part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for the country, Akande said it has become necessary for the Federal Government to adopt a stick-and-carrot approach with the state government, especially in following through in the area of compulsory education for the pupils in their first nine years 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.

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“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.