The UN has challenged Nigeria to push its qualified citizens forward for appointment and employment positions at the UN.
The Director, Learning, Development and Human Resource Services of the UN, Victor Kisob, threw the challenge when Joan Ayo, Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, visited him.
Ms. Ayo had led a delegation from the commission and Nigeria’s Permanent Mission to the UN to Mr. Kisob on job opportunities for Nigerians, lamenting the country’s under-representation at the organisation.
Mr. Kisob told the UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria that the UN encouraged Nigerians to apply for jobs especially in the middle and senior cadres.
“We still encourage Nigerians to apply for positions because we always look for the best and I believe that Nigeria has quite a reservoir of very qualified people in all fields of endeavours that the organisation looks for.
“What I will encourage is for those who are in mid-career or senior levels to also look at positions within the organisation when we do advertise them because certainly we don’t have experienced Nigerians at senior levels, directors and above level.
“That’s where I think I don’t see there are many Nigerians but it will be good for us to also have them apply for positions at that level.
“The government of Nigeria plays a role when it comes to positions at the Assistant-Secretary-General level and the Under-Secretary-General levels which the Secretary-General himself appoints individuals.
“That’s where the leadership of the country can interact directly with the Secretary-General and putting forward names of people the government believes are qualified to work at such levels in the organisation.
“We do advertise the positions on the website when they come and we then also inform the Permanent Mission here in New York of the availability of positions at the high levels.”
The UN official pointed out that Nigeria had so many qualified citizens who could serve at the UN but wondered why they are not in the employment of the UN.
He said Senegal has five Under-Secretaries-General and the Secretary-General of FIFA while Ethiopia has four Under-Secretaries-General at the UN.
According to him, many African countries have special departments responsible for the recruitment of their nationals into key international positions.
Mr. Kisob also urged Nigeria to use its strategic position to “take” international posts rather than wait for it to be given, advising the country to also push its best female candidates for the AU Chairman rather than rely on consensus.
“The government has to understand that it has to play a global role, not just regional role, and you need to go back and re-strategise.
“Our Heads of State need to keep putting up candidates who are qualified, especially women. The secretary-general has said ‘give me women who are qualified and I will appoint them’.
“It’s been a long time since Prof. Ibrahim Gambari left the UN but his fingerprints are still everywhere in the UN,” he said.
Also speaking with NAN after the meeting, Ms. Ayo said she was at the UN “to share ideas to see how we can leverage into whatever UN is doing to improve on the situation in Nigeria.
“I came out with three strong points that I believe we should work on at home. First, that our government should be more proactive in sponsoring people to work in the UN.
“We raised the issue that we do not have sufficient representation and the Director brought out two or three issues.
“The first one is that several governments identify people of integrity and of intellectual capability and they push them and so they get the UN job.
“Another issue that he raised that I think we should look into is to have a database of such people at our fingertips because they are now coalescing on behalf of Africans such database that can be useful to them at this level and this environment that they too can push.
“And finally, I saw an opportunity which I’ve been looking for them to download all jobs vacancies so that I too can advertise them on FCSC’s website. Those are three things that I’m going back home with.”
Ms. Ayo had, at the meeting with the UN official, lamented over what she termed deficit in Nigeria’s representation at the UN.