By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Sept. 20, 2021
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande says Nigeria is a strong voice on the global stage and has been a pre-eminent regional voice for Africa.
Muhammad-Bande told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the world had also been listening to Nigeria’s voice on the global stage.
He cited the likes of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina among others as Nigerians playing on the global stage.
“We have a voice that is listened to. We have seen Dr. Okonjo-Iweala; it is an attestation of what Nigeria can do. We have also seen how Adesina has done extremely well,’’ the envoy said.
“Nigeria has also given a voice to Africa’s issues and third world nations in relation to peace, justice and development.
“Nigeria, therefore, has a very important role to play at global debates as a Member State, as a country in West Africa and as a country in Africa,” he stressed.
Muhammad-Bande, who was elected President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, was the second Nigerian to attain that position while Nigeria was one of only three countries to have held the position twice.
He said Nigeria had been giving a voice to African issues and would continue to reiterate its calls on global issues like counter-terrorism in the region and around the world.
The envoy said Nigeria had been participating in various UN General Assembly activities since it joined the organisation in 1960 soon after the country gained independence.
Meanwhile, Muhammad-Bande has advised the new President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid to focus on the prosperity of Member States.
The 76th session of the General Assembly opened on Tuesday, Sept. 14, with the inauguration of Shahid from Maldives, who took over from President of the 75th session, Volkan Bozkir of Turkey.
“The new President should also deal with prosperity of Member States so that some countries that are lagging behind can meet their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Year 2030 is the target but not many countries will be able to meet the SDGs. We appreciate the difficulties in meeting the goals, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nevertheless, there is a lot of efforts to push that substantial achievements are recorded by all countries,’’ he said.
The Nigerian envoy said the new President of the UNGA should understand the concerns and fears of all Member States and find a middle ground to address these fears.
“Each of them has a different history and different tradition and each of which, by joining the body, has signalled their intentions of solving their problems.
“It is important to listen attentively to members and try to find a middle ground as much as possible to carry members along,’’ he said.
Muhammad-Bande said Shahid should listen to the fears of Member states, noting that capacities are different because what might be an urgent issue for some countries would have been passed long time ago for others.
“The UNGA President should use whatever instrument within the system to help those countries address their fears because a world that everybody feels comfortable and is not driven by fears is a far safer one.