The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Fidelia Njeze, yesterday unveiled the federal government’s new strategies that would help reposition the organisation for optimal policy implementation.
Njeze said Nigeria was currently undergoing a second African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which if successfully concluded, would make it the first APRM member state to be reviewed for the second time, and therefore lead to the adoption of a new national programme of action for implementation across the continent.
She made the disclosure in Abuja at the end of a sensitisation workshop organised for NEPAD state Coordinators and Focal Point Officers in the Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (FMDAs) in Abuja.
As part of the new strategy, Njeze said state coordinators would not just be policy makers, but would now be responsible for the direct implementation, facilitating and monitoring of NEPAD programmes across the country. She added that all NEPAD programmes would now be mainstreamed into all the various programmes of MDAs.
She said: “As NEPAD Coordinators and Focal Point Officers, will now be engaged with the task of propagating the values and sectorial priorities of NEPAD to ensure that they are mainstreamed into the state and national planning process with a view to achieving sustainable economic development and poverty eradication in our country.”
According to her, Nigeria is among the five initiating member countries of NEPAD and a permanent member of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC).
Unfortunately, she said Nigeria is not playing leadership in the organisation, adding: “Irrespective of the country’s large fiscal contribution to NEPAD continental office in South Africa, it benefits least from NEPAD continental projects and programmes.
According to her, NEPAD in Nigeria has dwindled into a state of oblivion, adding that if after a decade, people still doubt the role of NEPAD, it means that its relevance was being whittled down, which should not be the case when non-NEPAD initiating member countries who contribute less are benefitting so much from NEPAD programmes.
The poor implementation of NEPAD programmes, Njeze averred was due to total disconnect from the continental office. She said: “To this end, a think tank group was constituted upon my assumption of office who worked assiduously with a Technical Support Team from NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), in South Africa that helped to developed the strategy for repositioning NEPAD for effectiveness.”
In view of the new strategy, she said that it was now the core responsibility of NEPAD officials in Nigeria to facilitate, monitor and even implement NEPAD programmes at national and state levels, as well as report on the implementation at continental level.
She said: “The process of achieving this will not be easy since it will require political will, capacity enhancement, and significant financial resources but total commitment we can achieve much through joint efforts.
“I therefore urge you to be more proactive in your role to the NEPAD agenda by initiating programmes at state level, which could be jointly implemented throughout the federation,” Njeze emphasised.