By Okon Okon
The Federal Government has called on patriotic Nigerians to give their best through voluntary services across all sectors, so as to complement government’s efforts for nation building.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume, made the call in Abuja, at occasion to mark the 2023 International Volunteer Day (IVD).
The event was organised by the Nigerian National Volunteer Service (NNVS) department in the office of the SGF.
Akume, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs Office, Mrs Esuabana Nko-Asanye, said that Tinubu’s government has recognised volunteerism as a veritable force to facilitate socio-economic development in Nigeria.
According to him, volunteerism is widely seen as a development tool, critical for the advancement of the society especially in the rural communities.
He said the present economic contractions and realities had posed a lot of challenges for the government to achieve its developmental agenda, hence the need for collaborative efforts by the citizens.
“Volunteerism has been identified as a veritable tool for development and serves as a platform for implementing national and international programmes such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“It provides a huge source of human resources and social capital which can be an influential factor in social investment and job creation.
“Moreso, it offers material and financial resources which can be harnessed to assist the government in various social interventions and projects, ” Akume explained.
The SGF expressed optimism that a complementing coordinated volunteerism would be relevant in Tinubu’s government effort in achieving his ‘Eight-Point’ development priorities of the Renewed Hope Agenda, especially in the areas of poverty reduction, food security.
He added that such services would also add value to economic development and job creation to improve security and inclusivity of people to participate in the development activities of the country.
Akume said the government had demonstrated its commitment in 2020 to strengthening volunteerism as an essential tool through the development and approval of the National Policy on ‘Inclusive Volunteerism’.
“This policy is mainly to guide and provide direction for the effective management and coordination of volunteerism for development.
“Other objectives of the policy have been publicized across the country through decentralised workshops, sensitization programmes on volunteerism and national policy documents for stakeholders buy-in and support in its implementation, ” he said.
Speaking also, Mr Simon Stephen, Director, NNVS said IVD has become a platform of engaging people in tackling development challenges and transforming the pace and nature of development since its inception by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1985.
Stephen said the initiative had benefited the societies of the world, individuals and groups through their participation in making desired change in their immediate environment.
According to him, It is a platform for the inclusive participation of people with diverse range of experience and backgrounds.
“In line with the above, this year’s event calls for inclusive effort in raising awareness and understanding volunteers, to inclusive collectivity for the betterment of our future.
“Volunteerism is one of the strategies adopted by various nations to fast-track development especially in rural communities.
” It is also counted as one of the modalities for the implementation of SDGs across the countries of the World under the principle of “Leaving no one behind”.
He explained further that volunteerism could serve as a platform for people of all shades including the vulnerable to participate in proffering solutions to development challenges in the society.
“Therefore, collective and inclusive voluntary action towards development should be encouraged as a veritable tool for development, ” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 5th of December of every year is observed as the International Volunteer Day (IVD), which was mandated by the UNGA Resolution 40/212 of 17th Dec. in 1985.
IVD offers opportunity for UN member countries to promote volunteerism, encourage government to support voluntary efforts and recognise volunteer contributions to the achievement of the SDGs at local, national and international levels.
NAN also reports that 2023 IVD theme is , ‘If everyone did’. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi