Chief of Staff Gambari, Chair and Vice Chair, DSG Mohammed, governors, other distinguished guests, including several former U.S. governors and Ambassador Jeter, ladies, and gentlemen.
Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here today, and I’d like to extend my appreciation to the Nigerian Governor’s Forum for the invitation.
I’d like to congratulate the 18 of you who will be commencing their duties for the first time in two weeks. But whether you will be entering office for your first term, your second term, or are in the process of concluding your term in office, congratulations on having been chosen to represent and serve the people of your respective states.
On behalf of the U.S. government, I am proud to be here today and to support the Forum. Both because of our proud shared federal tradition in which we believe that governors should be close to the governed, and because there are many areas of mutual interest between the United States and each of your states, including on governance, health, development, and many more.
Those of you who have already been in office have partnered with the United States Agency for International Development. You know that USAID provides humanitarian assistance and promotes a healthier, more educated population, inclusive economic development, and good governance in Nigeria.
Through USAID, in fiscal year 2021, the United States invested $855 million in Nigeria. We are the largest bilateral contributor of humanitarian and development assistance in the country. None of this would be possible, or would have the tremendous impact that it does, without your collaboration and partnership at the state level.
Let’s look at just one piece of U.S. government support, health.
Health programs are a major part of our portfolio and a key way we partner with governors across the country. Through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Walter Reed, and USAID, the U.S. government works with you and your states to implement the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.
Nigeria has become a world leader in its quest to reach HIV epidemic control. Together I know we will end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat in Nigeria by 2030.
Additionally, the Governor’s Forum played a critical role in Nigeria’s polio eradication effort. Your directives to vaccinate every child under five and establishment of the Polio Task Force are the reasons Nigeria was declared wild poliovirus free in 2020.
We collaborate with and help train law enforcement and other security forces. We also work with Nigeria on bolstering education, enhancing the business climate, and working to improve court administration and reduce pretrial detention, to name a few more.
In all of these areas, governors and state governments have a large role to play. The U.S. Embassy looks forward to working with you, individually and as an organization. Together we can elevate critical state and national priorities and achieve greater development outcomes for all Nigerians.
I am a career diplomat and have not run for any election since high school. That’s your business, not mine. But I know you have an enormous and critical set of tasks ahead of you, and we stand ready to work with you on them.
Again, my sincere congratulations and appreciation for this opportunity. I wish you success at this Forum and in your governorships.