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Ambassador (Prof.) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Celebrating Ambassador (Professor) Muhammad-Bande, Nigerian diplomat doing Africa proud at UN

Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
His Excellency (Prof.) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations

News Analysis by Cecilia Ologunagba, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Recently the Reputation Poll International, a leading global reputation firm, released the 2023 list of the 100 most reputable Africans.

Fourteen Nigerians made the list, which includes persons from various sectors ranging from governance and leadership; human rights advocacy, religion, education, integrity, to impact and visibility.

One of the Nigerians on the list is Professor (Ambassador) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations in New York, United States of America (USA).

The envoy, who has had an outstanding career as a scholar, political scientist, and diplomat has been severally celebrated by his colleagues and Nigerians in the U.S.

“He is more than deserving, he has paid his dues, he has been doing all he could to promote Nigeria, he has been doing his best to promote Nigeria and Africa,’’ said Amb. Lot Egopija, Consul-General of Nigeria in New York.

“Also, since assumption of duty in the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, he has done well in the discharge of his duty, and it was based on that that he was elected the President of General Assembly then.

“He used the platform of being President of the UN General Assembly to promote Africa and above all, ensured that Nigeria retains her pride of place in the committee of nations,” Egopija said.

Similarly, Ambassador Benaoyagha Okoyen, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cuba with concurrent accreditation to the Bahamas, Honduras and Nicaragua, eulogised the outstanding qualities of Ambassador (Professor) Muhammad-Bande, saying he has made Nigeria proud.

“I have so much respect for him because he has made Nigeria proud, not only in this context but he has been involved in the development of our country in several areas, including as a lecturer”, he said.

He also described Professor Muhammad-Bande as a very humble man who has passion and love for Nigeria.

Speaking along the same lines, Amb. Peters Emuze, a Nigerian candidate serving as a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), congratulated Muhammad- Bande, saying that his performance as UNGA President made the honour well-deserved.

“He deserves this recognition being a two-term Representative of Nigeria at the UN in addition to his academic prowess.

“I believe also as President of the UN General Assembly, a position he held astutely and brought his experience to bear on UN General Assembly as an intellectual with vast experience.

In the same vein, the Chairman, Board of the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN), Mr Yinka Dansalami, said no recognition was too much for Ambassador Muhammad-Bande.

“Our ambassador is extremely humble, very educated and a man of integrity,’’ he said.

Dansalami stressed that the tenure of the diplomat has been very impactful as he made himself available for almost all Nigerian events to which he was invited.

“I remember when we invited him for the swearing-in of Nigerian Lawyers. We called him one or two days to the event. He accepted to be the keynote speaker and he came,’’ he said.

Dansalami, also the Chairman, Nigeria Independence Day Committee, testified to the availability of the envoy at Nigerian events in New York and beyond.

“There has never been any Nigerian Independence Day Parade, rain or sunshine, that he will not come, and he does not attend alone but comes with his family.

“As Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, he is not directly responsible for Nigerians in New York, but you will see him supporting his people and I can attest to it that Nigerians love him,’’ he said.

Likewise, the Secretary of UN Staff Recreation Council (UNSRC), Nigerian Association New York, Aliyu Abdulsalami, lauded the achievements of Muhammad- Bande as President of the UN 75th General Assembly.

“He made tremendous achievements working with high-level delegations from all member nations in pursuit of the common objectives of the global organisation.

“He was seen visible in pursuit of equitable quality education for all, made a great impact on the society, and brought a lot of culture of integrity to the organisation,’’ the official said.

In addition, he said that the Nigerian envoy brought the value of inclusiveness, equal opportunity and respect to all in the realisation of the UN mandate.

Professor Muhammad-Bande became President of the UN General Assembly at the onset and peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and excellently steered the global body to effectively respond to the unprecedented international crisis even when the meetings of the UN, for the first time, became virtual and difficult to coordinate.

Experts in diplomacy say the award, though an individual honour is a reflection of Nigeria’s growing influence and contributions in the UN.

According to these experts, the honour also presents an opportunity for the recipient to work harder, and a challenge to other African diplomats serving in the UN system to follow in his footsteps to contribute to the building of a more positive image for the continent. (NANFeatures)

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