The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, has called for fair and equitable representation of Nigeria at all cadres of the UN, commensurate with Nigeria’s contributions.
Oyo-Ita made the call in New York when she led a delegation of the Federal Civil Service Commission to the Chairman, International Civil Service Commission, Mr. Kingston Rhodes.
The Head of Service expressed concerns that Nigeria was currently underrepresented at the UN in spite of its huge sacrifices and contributions in human, financial and material resources.
She said, “We are here to discuss issues that are beneficial not only to Nigeria but to the entire African countries.
“Nigeria has been a member of the UN since independence and one of the most active UN members till date.
“As part of the UN members, we should be able to enjoy some of the benefits accrued to UN members.”
She also asked Rhodes of what Nigeria stood to benefit from her membership of the commission as an active member and a leading country in Africa.
“The UN personnel are mostly from the developed countries and we know that we have capable, well-educated Nigerians that can stand their peers in any international organisation.
“So we want to be very welcoming and have a renewed guidance of the commission on how Nigerians can be employed at the UN.
“We also want to see what best practices Nigeria can adopt from the commission in order to strengthen our country’s civil service.”
Responding, Rhodes noted that on the general issues of representation, Nigerians and Africans had not been at the top echelons of the UN as they used to be.
The commission’s chairman, however, said that the situation was as a result of the inability of African countries to bring their political weight to bear on the leadership of the UN.
He said, “We believe that there should be a united political representation by the leadership of African countries to take the issue up with the secretary-general.
“When African leaders meet with the leadership of the UN, it should not just be for photo op; they should discuss more relevant issues about their countries and Africa.
“We (Africa) need the political weight to go together as one united force and voice.”
The ICSC challenged the political leadership of African countries to support their citizens and candidates who applied for UN jobs by preparing them.
Rhodes also said that while there were political considerations in UN employments, qualified Nigerians should also apply for advertised positions as they could sometimes be considered.
He advised Nigerians who applied for the UN positions to tailor their applications towards the requirements of the particular position rather than using the same curriculum vitae to apply for different jobs.
Oyo-Ita said that with the understanding of the employment system in the UN, Nigeria would do everything possible to ensure that Nigerians are fairly represented at the global organisation.
She said, “After meeting with the chairman of the international civil service commission, we are now better informed and guided on how Nigeria can have its fair share of representation at the UN.
“We shall go back home and inform the political leadership so that we can bring our political force and weight to bear on the appointment of Nigerians to the UN systems.”
Oyo-Ita was accompanied by the acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Civil Service Commission, Mustapha Suleiman and the Director of Finance and Administration of the commission, Dr. Oluseyi Ikotun.
The Head of the Fifth Committee of the Nigeria’s Permanent Mission, Mr. Onesimus Atanze and the Head of the Second Committee and spokesperson for the mission, Mr. Akinremi Bolaji, also attended the meeting.