Home / Lead Story / Nigeria shines globally as Prof. Bande is elected President of the United Nations General Assembly; UN Secretary General pledges support

Nigeria shines globally as Prof. Bande is elected President of the United Nations General Assembly; UN Secretary General pledges support

From left: President-elect of the 74th UN Genetral Assembly, Amb. Tijani Mohammad-Bande; outgoing president of the 73rd UNGA, Ms Maria Espinosa, and UN Secretray General, Antonio Guterres, shortly after Mohammad-Bande’s election at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Ambassador (Prof.) Tijjani Bande standing in a picture with three members of the Nigerian government delegation, Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i, DG NIA; Garba Shehu and Dr. Bello Gusau, Executive Secretary of the PTDF. Professor Bande’s friends: Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of INEC, Mr. Boyi Mohammed Bande and Ambassador Aminu Iyawa, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Mexico were also on hand to share the moment of joy.
Prof. Tijjani Muhammad- Bande.

By Harrison Arubu

New York, June 4, 2019

Prof Tijjani Mohammed Bande, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has been elected President of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA.

He was elected through acclamation at an event witnessed by world diplomats and government officials from Nigeria, being the sole candidate for the election into the coveted office.

Meanwhile, the United Nations, UN, Secretary-General, António Guterres, same Tuesday assured the President-elect  of the 74th UN General Assembly, Amb. Tijani Mohammad-Bande, of his support to actualise his vision.

Guterres gave the assurance in his statement shortly after the election of Mohammad-Bande at the 87th plenary meeting of UNGA in New York.

“It is my pleasure to congratulate Prof. Tijani Mohammad-Bande as President of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Prof Bande, you bring many important and remarkable qualifications to the job. From your years as permanent representative of Nigeria, you know the United Nations well.

“And from your wide ranging academic pursuits, you are an expert in political science and public administration.

“And as a Nigerian and an Africa, you have invaluable insight into the continent’s challenges such as the Sahel and the Lake Chad basin, and more broadly to the challenges our world faces across the six pillars of our work – peace, sustainable development and human rights.

“We wish you well in your preparation for this role in the months ahead.

“Mr. President-elect, we all look forward to working with you and you can count on my support, as we strive to reach our shared goals and uphold universal values.’’

In her remarks, outgoing President of the 73rd Assembly, Ms Maria Espinosa, also congratulated Mohammad-Bande, describing him as the man for the job.

“Amb. Tijani’s career and experience both as a scholar and a diplomat should serve him and the General Assembly well in a session that promises to be pivotal.

“Amb. Bande is well seasoned to provide the strong and creative leadership our august assembly requires as he positions himself to be relevant in a world in rapid change.

“Your presidency, Ambassador, comes at a very critical moment for the United Nations and multilateralism.

“I am confident, however, that under your able leadership we will make  meaningful progress to advance the implementation of 2030 agenda for sustainable development, in sustaining peace and conflict prevention as well as the promotion of human rights and the empowerment of women and girls.’’

She assured the President-elect of her commitment to a smooth transition in September.

In his acceptance speech, Muhammad-Bande thanked the Federal Government for nominating him for the position, and the African Group in the Assembly for endorsing his candidacy.

He pledged to provide a vibrant and purposeful leadership anchored on accountability and transparency.

“As I announced in my mission statement and during the interactive dialogue on May 13, the implementation of existing mandates and the 2030 agenda with particular focus on peace and security, poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion will constitute the major priority of my presidency.

“ I am committed to promote partnerships that are needed from all stakeholders to achieve our objectives, and ultimately ensure that we do our best to ensure peace and prosperity, particularly for the most vulnerable.

“ I wish to reiterate that as President of the 74th session of the General Assembly, openness, inclusivity and transparency will guide all actions of the office of the President of the General Assembly.’’

The high-powered Nigerian Government delegation that was on hand at the moment of global recognition and honor for Mohammed-Bande and for the Nigeria,was led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Sulaiman and included the Director- General, National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.

Some of the UNGA President-elect’s personal friends who were there to share in his moment of joy include Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr. Boyi Mohammed Bande and Ambassador Aminu Iyawa, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Mexico.

Upon his election to the exalted office, the Nigerians and other friends of the country in the audience erupted in jubilation.

Prof. Mohammed-Bande has, by his election become the second Nigerian to be elected President of UNGA after Major Gen. Joseph Nanven Garba (rtd), who held the position between 1989 and 1990.

Nigeria has by Prof. Mohammed-Bande’s election, been thrust into global lime-light, and congratulatory messages from all over the world have been pouring in for the scholar-diplomat who is much admired by Nigerians, especially those in the New York/New Jersey axis as he is usually physically present at every of their events.

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