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

Nigerians celebrate out-going UN Permanent Representative, Muhammad-Bande

(Middle) Outgoing Nigeria’s Permanent Representative (PR) to the UN, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande and out-going Deputy Permanent Representative (DPR) of Nigeria to the UN, Amb. George Edokpa with the members of UN Staff Recreation Council (UNSRC) Nigeria Association at a farewell event organised for the duo at Nigeria House in New York.

By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, Feb. 8, 2024

Diplomats and UN Staff Recreation Council (UNSRC)  Nigeria Association members, have celebrated the achievements of Nigeria’s outgoing Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.

Prof. Muhammad-Bande served the country in that capacity from 2017 to 2024.

During his tenure, he served as the President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly from September 2019 to September 2020. He previously served as vice president of the 71st session from September 2016 to September 2017.

At a farewell event organised in his honour at the Nigeria House in New York, the members of UNSRC testified that his tenure ushered in innovations and reforms in multilateralism.

The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that UNSRC also honoured the out-going Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Amb. George Edokpa.

In his remarks, the President of UNSRC, Mr. Bolade Sobola, commended the relationship of the two diplomats with their compatriots, noting that they have served with honour and distinction.

“They have not only served our country but the whole of humanity.

“We appreciate you, Amb. Muhammad Bande for raising the profile of Nigeria within the UN, especially during the COVID,” said Sobola.

Prof. Adedeji Ebo, Director and Deputy to the High Representative Office, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), lauded the leadership qualities, excellent relationship, and astonishing virtues of Muhammad-Bande.

Ebo described him as a great and diligent diplomat, who identified and supported Nigerians working at the UN and in the U.S.

“I’m a beneficiary of his humility and support when he was the President of General Assembly. That was during the COVID era and I was to launch a book that I edited.

“I approached him. He agreed to organise the book launch, and he chaired it. This occasion brought me closer to him.  Prof is so humble, modest and kind.

“I really want to thank you for your support and wish you greater heights in life,” he said.

(Left) Out-going Deputy Permanent Representative (DPR) of Nigeria to the UN, Amb. George Edokpa; outgoing Nigeria’s Permanent Representative (PR) to the UN, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande; the founding President of UNSRC Mr. Obi Emekekwue and Defence Adviser, Major-General Dangana Allu at farewell event in New York

Similarly, Ms Tolu Lewis-Tamoka, former UNSRC President, congratulated Prof. Muhammad-Bande for his excellent service to Nigeria and the world at large.

She noted that she was the president of the association when Muhammad-Bande assumed office as President of the UN General Assembly.

“Shortly after then, the Deputy Permanent Representative came on board. We are proud of the leadership qualities of two of you.

“For Prof. Muhammad-Bande, during the COVID-19 period, he gave us much hope. I also commend the role he played in support of the UN Secretary-General during that period.

“Also, your humility and modesty, as others have mentioned, you never changed from the first day till the last day, and another value you have taught us is being there for your own,” she said.

Sharing Lewis-Tamoka’s views, Dr Akinyele Dairo, a UN retiree, extolled the supportive role of the outgoing Permanent Representative to Nigerians, citing his support when the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, died.

He also praised him for the role he played in training Nigerians, who were serving Nigeria locally and internationally.

“You have not only exhibited your excellent diplomatic skills in principle, but you did that in practice when you were the President of the General Assembly.

Also speaking, Amb. Vivian Okeke, representative of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the United Nations, described Muhammad-Bande as a humble diplomat who made Nigeria proud when he was the President of the General Assembly.

According to her, Muhammad-Bande has mentored countless professors and the UN has benefited from his wisdom and wealth of knowledge.

She also praised his generosity in supporting Nigerians, citing his support in allowing people to use the Nigeria House for conferences and events.

In his remarks, Amb. Edopka, thanked the association for honouring him and Muhammad-Bande, noting that it was a privilege to serve Nigerians in that capacity.

He also spoke on the cooperation he received from Muhammad-Bande and praised his achievements, saying, “the work Professor has done is everywhere.”

Muhammad- Bande also commended the UNSRC for hosting the event, admonishing the members on their strategic role in projecting the good image of Nigeria at the UN and U.S.

He said there was need to support the Nigerian government in its role as the head of ECOWAS, with the challenges of tenure elongation of some leaders and military rule.

“You have a duty to be patriotic to your country because of your location, being at the UN. Those of you at the UN have a greater responsibility to fellow Nigerians both at home and abroad,” he said.

In addition, he frowned at media reports painting Nigeria “black,” noting that there are so many good things happening in the country in spite of its challenges.

“For me, it has been a great privilege to work for the country, to work and learn from compatriots,” he said.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of plaques to the duo in appreciation of their meritorious and exemplary service to Nigeria and the world.

The founding President of UNSRC and the former UN Resident Correspondent of NAN, Mr. Obi Emekekwue,  Defence Adviser, Major-General Dangana Allu, Head of Chancery (HoC) at the Permanent Mission, Mr. Benjamin Olafaju, among others, attended the event.

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