UNGA: Buhari Does It Again On The Global Stage, By Ayobami Akanji
More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations – Kofi Annan
On December 29, 1941 the text of the declaration of the United Nations (UN) was constructed at the White House by President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), Prime Minister, Winston Churchill and Harry Hopkins, FDA’s chief diplomatic adviser. The term UN was officially used for the first time when 26 governments signed that declaration.
The United Nations comprises of 6 principal organs, the General Assembly, the Security Council, Economic and Social Council, International Court of Justice, Trusteeship Council, and the Secretariat. Our focus will be on the ground leveling speech the Nigerian leader gave at the United Nations General Assembly on its 73rd edition, his arguments for the expansion of its Security Council to accommodate more diversity.
However, that Nigeria’s battered international image has been reconstructed and laundered with the technique of a profound leadership and a detergent constituted by sincerity, honesty, diligence and hard work isn’t in doubt. This can be witnessed from the influx of world leaders trooping in by the minutes, as the world’s most populous black nation trudges back to the highest echelon of African and Global topnotch diplomacy.
President Buhari’s, participation and speech at the UNGA was a poignant pointer to what straight lines can be gotten when a sharp-edged leader is employed by the populace. Short but concise couldn’t be more apt an aphorism. During the past year, the world saw some positive results and encouraging signs from the bilateral and multilateral efforts of the international community to address conflicts, crises and threats to world peace. Mr. President particularly commended the efforts of the leaders of the United States, North Korea, and South Korea, to realise the shared goal of a nuclear free Korean Peninsula.
The world’s largest diplomatic gathering is the right podium to push and posit as Africa’s premier country of diplomacy. President Buhari, ticked everything right. With the accuracy of a driver, he assembled Nigeria’s delegation there and harped on Nigeria’s commitment to international peace and security, applauded the success recorded in several parts of the globe, among which is the resolved Ethiopia and Eritrea conundrum.
As the Chairman of ECOWAS, he spoke on illegal migration, proliferation of small arms and how the bloc is finding a lasting solution.
The world today is tilting towards the precipice. This thought was echoed by the UN Secretary General when he said “Today, the world is increasingly chaotic, democratic principles are under siege”. Evidence can be seen in what is happening in Syria and the worsening human crisis in Yemen, and challenges being faced in the North East of Nigeria.
Apart from pledging Nigeria’s commitment to peace and security, President Buhari also acknowledged efforts made by the UN, Geneva process and Sochi initiatives, a la carte, to mitigate and control the spiraling evils from this theatre of shattered humanity and domain of ballistic convivial destruction. There is no need for the world to be at each other’s neck.
Tension was greatly deflated when President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Il Jong met in Singapore to douse problems and charge a course of new beginnings. President Buhari acknowledged their commitment to peace, disarmament and denuclearization. Being a victim of how the rule of law can be, like a knob in the hands of those familiar with its soft side, turned to the highest decibels and danced to, he talked on the needs for the world in general to show more respect for the rule of law. Not only respect but a diligent commitment to accepting the dictates of the law and that the law is supreme, whether or not it favours.
Mr President has always been known to have a strong sympathy for the worsening state of the Lake Chad Basin. That it was a major source of livelihood to more than 45 million people is enough to tickle the heart of any human. But today, the effects of Climate change has forced the lake to continuously shrink by about 90%, presenting and increasing risk of a humanitarian crisis. President Buhari analysed that the loss of their means of livelihood has led to migration to places where food and other life’s essentials won’t be hard to get. He called for diligence in recharging the Lake Chad Basin.
Consequently, it has been established that the instability currently experienced, either insurgency in the Sahel or the farmers herdsmen clashes can be attributed to the Chad Basin, reason Mr. President commended the Governments of Germany, Norway, US, Sweden, UK, and France for their help in addressing this issue by raising over $1 billion in funding to help implement the stability drive.
Whereas, the anti-corruption champion of the African continent couldn’t as little as forget to talk on corruption, the focal leg of his tripod campaign promises back home – he recapitulated it on a global stage. He canvassed for more international help for the fight against this mamba of ferocious and near-apocalyptic destruction-esque. Not stopping there, he also talked on illicit flow of funds by reminding leaders of the Thabo Mbeki report which estimated that $80 billion illicit financial flows out of Africa annually, and 40% of these funds is from Nigeria; commitment is needed in investigating and prosecuting anyone found guilty in this heist.
Similarly, President Buhari campaigned for the expansion of the U.N Security Council to allow for more members on this organ so as to reflect the world’s regional diversity. Nigeria has for over two decades been spearheading the expansion of the Security Council to enable it become more equitable, the President harped on a U.N. Security Council which needs the representation of the majority of members to be achieved with a unity of purpose as 70% of the UNSC resolutions focuses on Africa – now is the time to have African leadership at this high level of decision making organ. Turkey, like Nigeria, has also been raising advocacy for this reform, the campaign “the world is bigger than five’’ – a reference to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council has been championed by the Turkish government.
On health related issues, Mr President attended a high level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis, as Nigeria ranked seventh in the world and second in Africa on the list of tuberculosis-burden countries; tuberculosis kills more than 4,000 people annually. The current administration has been investing hugely in the health sector, especially community and primary healthcare, the government recently approved N6.07 trillion for a five-year National Health Strategic Plan, the government also pledged one percent of its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for basic healthcare provision.
Nigeria signed an MoU for a grant of $125k to promote Nigeria’s rock art. It was signed by the Trust For African Rock Art (TARA), National Commission for Monuments and Museums (NCMM), University of Calabar and Ahmadu Bello University.
There is a fulfilment that comes with doing the right thing and putting your best efforts. This fulfilment comes from the truism that hard work brings good results. This explains why Nigerians are on board this train led by the President. We’ve not gotten there yet. No, we’re not jetlagged, we have the endurance to take us till 2023.
Akanji is a political strategist, and writes from Abuja