The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, has tasked women to take over leadership from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Mohammed, who is leading a delegation of UN senior officials on a visit to Nigeria, stated this on Tuesday while speaking on a television programme in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The PUNCH had reported Monday that the UN top official met with the President at Aso Villa in Abuja on strategies to rebuild after the devastations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mohammed said all Nigerians must come together to rebuild the country, regardless of ethnic or political affiliations.
“We need to recognise what is not right, work towards making it happen and know that we can do this together; individually and collectively we have responsibilities,” she said, adding that there was the need to respect each part of this country as “we all have something of value to offer”.
Mohammed noted that Nigeria can provide the kind of leadership that Africa wants by working towards achieving the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
When asked whether she would like a woman to succeed Buhari as Nigerian leader, the UN top official said, “That is my hope and I do not see that there isn’t a woman that cannot do that. I always believe that you should strive for that aspiration and don’t fail for want of trying.
“So, women should stand up. They have 50 per cent of the votes and if they can convince the ‘hes’ for ‘shes’, the men who support women, then absolutely why not? There is no reason why a woman cannot lead Nigeria.”
The former Nigerian Environment Minister stressed, “What we really need whether it is a man or a woman is a Nigerian, someone who looks at this country in its unity and its strength and really begins to talk about moving forward, realising those aspirations that we talk about – move from the papers to the practical realities that can happen in our 774 local governments, our 36 states and the FCT. That is work to do and it is very possible under the leadership of a woman.”
Ellen Sirleaf, who served as the 24th President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018, is reputed the first elected female head of state in Africa. A few women had also attempted to be Nigeria’s President in the past including Remi Sonaiya and Oby Ezekwesili.
Mohammed’s comment, however, comes at a time when the global community is showering encomium on Kamala Harris, the first vice-president-elect in the history of the United States with former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, saying, she has the Nigerian DNA.
The UN top official’s comment also comes at a time when Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is set to become the first African and first female director-general of the World Trade Organisation.