President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday joined other well-wishers to celebrate the United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, as she marked her 60th birthday.
President Buhari spoke through his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, at a symposium in honor of the UN Deputy Chief, oganized by the Centre For Policy Research and Development Studies (CPRDS) in Abuja yesterday. The President described Amina as a “purpose-driven technocrat and an inspiration to the young people ‘’ especially women and girls with her amazing achievements.
“From her early days coordinating the Task Force On Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Development Project; to her role as the Senior Special Assistant on the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) to three consecutive Presidents of Nigeria; to her appointment as Nigeria’s Federal Minister of Environment in 2015 under my Government, Amina has always exhibited the distinctive quality of being a purpose-driven technocrat that works to create the change that she wishes to see,” President Buhari said.
He added that the former Minister has focused programme whether in the public or private sector to bridge the gaps in education and healthcare within and beyond Nigeria.
The President further eulogised Amina, who just secured a new term of office as UN Deputy Chief, stressing that the appointment made him proud because it was predicated on her ceaseless contributions to the UN system especially on reforms and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Amina, he emphasized, also initiated programmes such as the Virtual Poverty Fund and Conditional Grant Scheme to help alleviate the plight of low-income earners in Nigeria who currently make up more than 40% of the nation’s entire population.
Recall that Amina helped to put in place the SDGs, which is the successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which also had her immense development footprints.
Guest Speaker and former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, in her keynote address, described Amina as “an extra-ordinary African woman, who is a global leader,” adding that she was pivotal in the global robust consultation that resulted in the 17 goals of the MDGs, which focused on gender and equality at the core.
“Amina is a force of nature but also a consensus builder, with clarity of ideas and energy, propelling others as they see more possibilities of which they may never have thought,” Johnson said, adding that the former Nigeria’s Minister of Environment was mindful of nurturing leadership particularly of talented women.
Governor of Gombe State, the home state of Amina, Inuwa Yahaya, told reporters that Amina “is true Nigerian and the legacy she leaves is a legacy of service to humanity. We urge all our women to emulate her.”
In the same vein, Governor of Kaduna State, Nasiru el-Rufai and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, spoke in glowing terms about Amina and urged the Nigerian women and the girl child to see her as a role model.
Speaking to reporters after the event, Amina said she felt honored and humbled at the encomiums even as she tasked women to be original in whatever they are doing so that they can attain the desired heights.
Others who graced the occasion included; Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen and Minister Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ibrahim Pantami.
Others include, Chairman of LEADERSHIP Group Limited, Zainab Nda-Isaiah; Former Governor of Yobe state Bukar Abba Ibrahim; Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah; Director General of the Nigerian Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) Chikwe Ihekweazu among others.