GOODWILL MESSAGE BY MR. PETER THOMAS, DEPUTY HEAD OF MISSION, BRITISH DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSION AT THE MAIDEN EDITION OF SOUTH WEST SECRETARIES TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT FORUM ON DECEMBER 2ND, 2021
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
I am honoured to be with you today. My name is Peter Thomas, the number two at the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
I am extremely proud to say I have a new remit which is strengthening our ties with South West states so I am delighted to be here. I am also thankful to the DAWN Commission for receiving me in lbadan last week.
Our history of development partnership dates back over 20 years, when our former Department for International Development (DFID) initiated a series of development interventions in Nigeria of which the South West Region and specifically Ekiti and Lagos States were beneficiaries. I am sure many of you are aware that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have now merged with DFID to create the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This is an attempt by the UK government to merge diplomacy and development. It positions us to be better able to implement and deliver our strategic goals in Africa. Nigeria is critical to achieving these.
Our work with you has graduated from the initial governance reform, justice sector reform, education sector reform programmes and many others too numerous to mention, to a more regional focus, working with all the States of your region.
Our PERL Programme which held a close out event in October worked in partnership with the DAWN Commission to deliver some reforms on issues of regional resonance across the South West States. Your state representatives at the event shared successes they recorded in the areas of:
• Government policy development
• Open Government Partnerships
• Private public partnerships
• Legislative advocacy
• Regional collaboration and decision making around PFM
• Inclusive and gender sensitive budgeting
• Improved women inclusion in governance
• Increased inclusion of persons with disabilities
• Peer review and peer learning
• Regional media approach and improved relationship with the political class/government
All these seem to echo the theme of this Forum ‘Leveraging Good Practices in Managing Cabinet Affairs Offices. You are very critical to the success of every government. You take forward policy implementation and coordination. We worked hard in the past with DAWN Commission to establish Community of Practice (CoP) for Southwest Heads of Service, Commissioners for Economic Planning and Budget, Commissioners for Finance. I am sure they can testify that it has been a rewarding exercise.
As I said earlier, I was in Ibadan last week. I was struck by the talent, energy, and opportunities there, which I am sure these are mirrored in all the Southwest States. I will be recommending that we send more of our people, based in Lagos and Abuja, to visit the Southwest to understand better the challenges you face and the opportunities to work together.
It is our hope that with your kind cooperation, we will continue to work towards achieving our common goal of improved governance and service delivery across the Southwest States of this fascinating, diverse and welcoming country.
I wish you fruitful deliberations and thank you for listening