The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate has emphasised the critical importance of investing in Nigeria’s greatest asset – its people.
Pate, who spoke at the Barewa Old Boys’ Association Annual Lecture in Abuja, emphasised that the health, education and social well-being of the population should be the top priorities in governance and policy actions.
Addressing the audience, Pate recognised the need for leadership and elite consensus, emphasising the urgency of investing in basic health and education, particularly for adolescent girls, women and children. He firmly believed that this investment in human capital would unleash the inherent potential of the country’s population, steering the nation toward a brighter and more prosperous future in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.
To bring President Tinubu’s vision to fruition, Pate stressed the necessity of addressing the prevailing challenges in healthcare and education. He called on subnational leaders, especially Governors in the North of Nigeria, to redirect their efforts toward prioritising investments in basic health and education for their populations.
Identifying key areas requiring immediate attention, Pate emphasised the importance of tackling high maternal, infant and child mortality rates, along with controlling vaccine-preventable diseases. He also highlighted the imperative to reduce the burden of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, hypertension, diabetes, strokes and cancers through preventive and treatment measures. Additionally, he underscored the significance of caring for the elderly population and empowering the girl child and women economically, socially and politically.
Pate acknowledged the crucial role of investing in the youth as a vital aspect of Nigeria’s development. He stressed the need to provide quality jobs with career progression, tapping into the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians. Ensuring a well-rounded education for the boy child, enabling them to grow into responsible adults, was also highlighted.
“By investing in the youth and facilitating their transition into the labour market, Nigeria can tap into their potential and contribute to the nation’s growth,” remarked Pate. Achieving these goals, he recognised, would require improved governance, collaboration across governments and sectors, stronger institutions, enhanced citizen focus, reduced wastage and corruption, as well as improved and stable macroeconomic management. The emphasis on human capital investment stands as a pivotal strategy for shaping a prosperous future for Nigeria.