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UN to partner Ekiti on SDGs

…As Fayemi hints on plan for bond to offset outstanding gratuities

Priscilla Ofunre, Ado-Ekiti
Partnering Ekiti State on  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations systems has reaffirmed its commitment to  support the State in its efforts to achieve the SDGs vision.
The disclosure was made on Thursday by the resident coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon,  during a meeting in Ado-Ekiti with the Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, where he highlighted the pillars of the UN reforms in Nigeria to include collective support for the government to implement the SDGs; peace building and prevention.
Kallon said the potential areas of partnership with the Nigerian government include advocacy for legislation on establishment of the National Commission For Peace, Reconciliation And Mediation and deepening understanding of the SDGs and localization at the state level in partnership with the Governors’ forum.
The UN top official who hailed Governor Fayemi’s social security programmes, said the UN would work with the State to actualise its SDGs vision.
Governor Fayemi at the meeting stressed the need for the nation to address the issues of employment among the youth; increasing inequality and poverty and insecurity.
He expressed the willingness of his administration to work with the United Nations in the area of peace-keeping and conflict management.
According to him, “It is no longer a debate that we have democracy but we have to be careful not to be overrun by the explosive demographic growth that you spoke about, the nature of the extreme poverty but particularly the increasing inequality and what that has brought about by way of the violent extremism and the impatience of the youth that are at the receiving end of these challenges and we face it daily.
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“We are recruiting teachers, and it will shock you, Ekiti is one of the smallest states, on the first day of our recruitment, we had 6500 applications online, by 12.00noon this afternoon, we had 9,000 for teaching position that will start mid-September in our basic schools.
“That depict a picture of the enormity of the challenge. This is what increasingly led to the radicalization of people who feel there is no hope, so we have to find a way to eke out a living and government had to be more innovative and creative about tackling these challenges.
“On advocacy, clearly, we are desirous of close collaboration of the UN systems in order to push for a world of peace, progress and development that can help us address this governance deficits that we are dealing with that undermines sustainable development over the long term”.
Dr Fayemi said government will soon organize bond to offset the outstanding gratuities of pensioners and later find a way of paying back.
“We are interested a lot in the bond and we have a practical challenge here for example in our state, we are looking at a way of developing innovative bond to address it, we have a lot of people who have retired from service and their gratuities have piled up over past couple of years running into billions of naira that we are not immediately able to pay and I don’t think it is fair for all this people who have devoted years of their lives to serving the state.
“That is  why we started the social security scheme for the elderly as a safety net to address this sort of issue but for us we think it should be possible for us to develop a bond that can enable us pay off all these and then find a way to offset that bond over a long term,” the governor said.