Wednesday, 6th December 2023

Examining SGF’s 100 days Of diligent approach to delivering On Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda

By Kehinde Olatunji
23 September 2023   |   3:10 am
When the formergovernor of Benue State, George Akume, assumed office as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), expectations were high as members of the public sought a departure from the status quo in order to re-energise governance system....

George Akume PHOTO: Blueprint Newspaper

When the formergovernor of Benue State, George Akume, assumed office as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), expectations were high as members of the public sought a departure from the status quo in order to re-energise governance system and put the country on a right footing. Seen as the engine room of the Federal Government, the Office of the SGF (OSGF) has tedious responsibilities to discharge to ensure an effective running of the government.  

Among other functions, the SGF’s office is responsible for conducting and supervising the activities of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government. It is responsible for organising Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings.

The office also interfaces for the Federal Government with the state governments or any subnational body. The office takes care of political office holders, including Mr. President and the Vice President. The SGF also serves as the Secretary to the Council of State, the Federal Executive Council, Security Council and other constitutional councils, which are chaired by the president.

The SGF also serves as the Chief Adviser to President and Vice President on policy issues, while also providing administrative support services for administrative tribunals, commissions and panels of inquiry.
He also handles issues related to the affairs of former heads of state and presidents, including protocol matters, processing of communication and documentation and conveying the directive of the president.

Furthermore, he superintends the processing and granting of government approval for overseas tours, inter-governmental meetings, conferences and medical check-up/treatment for public officers, members of the judiciary, chairman and members of statutory commissions for approval by the president as well as processing of appointments to the headship of statutory bodies, commissions and agencies by the president.

Thus, to ensure that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration delivers optimally to the people, Akume, immediately after he assumed office, sought the support of the British government to combat insecurity and infrastructural development in the country.

While receiving the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, in his office, Akume called on the British government to assist the Federal Government to curb Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and farmers-herders clashes as they did during Nigeria’s civil war. Recalling the age-long relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria, he said it was necessary for both countries to work together for mutual benefits.
“We want to make a difference in the lives of our people. We are not after money; we are after infrastructure, we are after food security and we are after energy. We believe with your support we should go farther than this. We also have nine mandate areas. Honestly, by the time you support us, it is mutual; you will be surprised that the relationship will soar to greater heights,” Akume said.

He also said that with the historical ties between the British Government and the Federal Government, there was a need to deepen the bilateral relationship to support Nigeria in the area of education and health.

As part of efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and development, Akume stressed the need for political stability in Africa to attract foreign direct investment.
According to him, the African region and Nigeria, in particular, must do everything possible to ensure political and economic stability.This, he noted, would help to gain the confidence of investors for sustainable regional development. He identified income inequality, environmental impact and resources allocation, vulnerability to global economic and political instability as major challenges of economic growth at national levels.

The SGF, however, said that opportunities abound for sustainable economic development in the continent such as abundant natural resources, agricultural potential, growing consumer market, youthful population, renewable energy potential as well as technology and innovation.
According to him, diversification of economies, infrastructural development, human capital investment, sustainable agriculture and agribusiness, inclusive policies and access to capital were strategies that could guarantee economic growth in Africa.

“By capitalising on sectors of comparative advantage, investing in infrastructure and promoting innovation and technology, African nations can spur economic diversification and lay the foundation for inclusive growth.

“The interconnectedness of regional economies calls for collaborative efforts that transcend borders, fostering cross-border trade, investments and knowledge sharing.

“Strengthening regional institutions and frameworks will facilitate coordinated policy actions, promote stability and create an environment conducive to attract both domestic and foreign investments,” he added. Akume also said that education and skills development were the cornerstones for Africa’s success story. His words: “Empowering the continent’s youth with relevant knowledge and skills will drive entrepreneurship, create jobs and nurture a workforce that can contribute to global value chains, enhancing competitiveness and sustainable development.

“A commitment to good governance, transparency and the rule of law is imperative to build investor confidence, ensure effective resource management and mitigate risks associated with corruption and political instability.

“Simultaneously, addressing social inequalities and promoting social safety nets will cultivate an environment of social cohesion, enhancing the overall resilience of African societies,” he added.

Giving insight into the activities of the OSGF so far, Akume’s Chief of Staff, Chris Tarkar, hinted that the Federal Government has embarked on a slew of programmes to solve the country’s challenges, adding that Nigerians must unite, irrespective of tribe or religion to build a better nation.

“We are not by choice Nigerians but we are Nigerians by the making of the Almighty God. We did not choose to be born into any tribe but God in His wisdom coded for us because that is what it should be.

“He also chose that we should all be in this great nation. You could have been an Igbo man in America or a Hausa man in China but He decided otherwise; that we should be here.

“In recognition of that fact, we owe it to ourselves to work together. We all have differences in terms of culture and religion but if we believe in the unity, the purpose and the greatness of this nation, we can build a great Nigeria.The politics of divisiveness either based on religion or ethnic sentiments will not lead us anywhere.

“The government has embarked on a multitude of programmes among which is to tackle insecurity. The government is not shying from its responsibility of ensuring peace in the country. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s promise is under the Renewed Hope agenda, which is a great assurance for the nation.

“Challenges in the relationship between herdsmen and farmers will soon come to an end. This whole issue is caused by climate change, which is part of the reason the government put up the programme called the Great Green Wall. Again, the fuel subsidy removal by the government will definitely work. All Nigerians need is patience,” Tarkar said.

It is believed that, Akume, in the last 100 days, has dutifully discharged his functions to the best of his ability by acting as the adhesive tape that binds the Presidency with the bureaucracy to ensure effective implementation of government policies.

One of the major tasks he carried out in the last 100 days was serving as the Chairman of the 2023 Inter-Ministerial committee on Democracy Day.
The event tagged, ‘Hope Reassured’held on June 12 away from the traditional May 29, was in honour of the heroes who championed the political struggle against military rule and made extraordinary sacrifices for the enthronement of democratic rule in Nigeria from 1999 till date.
Akume also consolidated the Federal Government’s fight against the triple scourge of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by enhancing collaboration with Global Fund when he received in audience a delegation from the Fund, which approved about $1 billion for Nigeria as part of its grant to assist the country in the fight against tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS for the next three years.

The Federal Government also approved the dissolution of the governing boards of all Federal Government parastatals, agencies, institutions and government-owned companies in the exercise of its constitutional powers and in the public interest.The dissolution did not, however, affect boards, commissions and councils listed in the Third Schedule, Part 1, Section 153 (i) of the 1999 constitution, as amended.
According to the SGF, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) were exempted from the dissolution.

In view of the development and pending when new boards would be constituted, the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of the parastatals, agencies, institutions and government-owned companies are to refer matters requiring the attention of their boards to the President, through the Permanent Secretaries of their respective supervisory ministries and offices.

Another commendable performance of Akume was the successful completion of the documentation process for all 45 Ministers-designatebefore their inauguration by the president last August 21.

Meanwhile, Akume has been headlining the 2023 Annual National Management Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) in Lagos. Tagged, ‘Managing Nigeria’s Path to Sustainable Economic Growth and Prosperity: The Challenges before the New National Leadership’, Akume declared the conference open on Monday, September 18.

The NIM Registrar, Taiwo Olusesi, had disclosed that deliberations from the event would be made available to the Federal Government to support the current administration’s goal of revamping the nation’s economy and bringing relief to the vulnerable segment of the society.
She noted that the Federal Government’s eight-point agenda signified that it had since gone to work on reviving the economy.

The NIM registrar stated that the yearly conference, a flagship of the institute’s many activities and programmes and one of its numerous contributions to nation building, was a platform to brainstorm extensively on burning governance and leadership issues.She said that about 2,000 participants made up of government functionaries, decision-makers, opinion leaders, policy formulators and top management executives in both the private and public sectors would attend.

Olusesi stated that to make it a good learning and interactive experience, the institute had painstakingly sought out speakers and breakout session moderators to present papers at the conference.

“To this end, Ambassador Godknows Igali, former Nigerian ambassador to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, will be serving as the main theme speaker at this conference.Malam Baba Yusuf, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Global Investment and Trade Company; Mrs. Adesumbo Adeoye, Convener, Inspiring Change Conference; and Prof. Samuel Oyewole, Chief Executive Officer, Primegrid Energy Inc.; will be the session moderators,” she said.
Olusesi said the conference would review policy decisions of the administration targeted at kick-starting the economy and proffering workable economic policies for sustainable growth from a professional viewpoint.

“The institute, which has always availed its professional management know-how and assistance to successive governments, will forward a communiqué containing its suggested roadmap to economic recovery to the Federal Government and other stakeholders at the end of the conference,” she added.