Nigerian Ambassadors have congratulated Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, as the incoming President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The ambassadors, in their congratulatory statements said the president-elect of the UN General Assembly had elevated Nigeria’s position on the global stage and among the diplomatic community.
Muhammad-Bande was elected by affirmation on June 4, making it the second time that Nigeria would produce the president of the UN General Assembly after late Gen. Joseph Garba in 1989.
Amb. Samson Itegboje, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, said Muhammad-Bande’s election “will definitely bring high visibility to Nigeria” on the global stage.
Itegboje said: “For me, this is the highest we can go in terms of international diplomacy.
“If you add the fact too that right now at the United Nations, we have the Deputy Secretary-General as a Nigerian who is mounting that position, then you can’t have it better than we’re having it right now.
“The Presidency is so strategic that you can use it to drive the issues that you feel not only pertain to your country but also pertain to your continent”.
Amb. Audu Kadiri, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, said Muhammad-Bande’s election has again re-asserted Nigeria’s leadership on the global stage.
Kadiri said: “This successful diplomatic outing by Prof. Muhammad-Bande and Nigeria must be viewed against the backdrop of Nigeria’s standing in global diplomacy as well as the uncommon attributes and accomplishments of Muhammad-Bande.
“In fact, this positive development is a befitting climax to Nigeria’s decades-long investment in multilateral diplomacy, supportive of the UN quest for peace, prosperity, climate action, human rights and sustainable development, through international cooperation”.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico, Aminu Iyawa, on his part, said Bande’s election by affirmation was a testament to the confidence the global community reposed in Nigeria and the diplomat to drive the global agenda at this time.
Iyawa said: “Muhammad-Bande has brought his wealth of experience to bear on the conduct of diplomacy at the multilateral level at the United Nations and at several positions he had held as a scholar.
“The interest, support and excitement generated by his election at the General Assembly was an affirmative and loud statement that Nigeria and its candidate were widely accepted and well received globally.
Amb. Akinremi Bolaji, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Singapore, in his congratulatory letter said Muhammad-Bande’e election attested to his high sense of dedication to duty as a well-rounded scholar and multilateral diplomat.
“Having had the opportunity to work directly with you, I readily concur with the many commentators that you were the unbeatable choice for the President of the 74th UN General Assembly.
“I am confident that your wealth of experience and leadership skills, alongside the commitment which you have always progressively shown, will come into play as you lead the UN General Assembly to achieve its mandates”.
On his part, Amb. Hassan Hassan, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, DC, said the unanimous election of the Nigerian diplomat was timely, especially now that multilateralism was under attack.
Hassan said: “As the global community grapples with the overarching challenge to rekindle trust in multilateralism needed to address the current global challenges, Nigeria’s leadership, its goodwill and the capability of Muhammad-Bande are relevant and timely”.
Meanwhile the President of Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria (AFRPN), Amb. Gani Lawal urged him to utilise the position to the benefit of the country.
Lawal called on the Federal Government to give him necessary support and put needed information at his disposal so that he could perform excellently.
There should be cooperation between him and other Nigerian ambassadors in other countries so that they could be on the same page whenever he is discussing Nigeria’s issues with the member states.
The election of Muhammad-Bande makes Nigeria one of the only three countries that had a national elected as President of UNGA twice; all the other member states had been represented only once by their nationals holding this office.