By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Abuja on Sunday for New York, the United States, to participate in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74) which took off on Tuesday, September 17.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the president’s participation at this year’s UNGA is significant because it coincides with the emergence of a Nigerian as the President of UNGA.
“Recall that on June 4, 2019, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was unanimously elected as the President of UNGA74 – an indication of the country’s high esteem in global reckoning.
“This marks the second time Nigeria would be occupying that prestigious position following late Maj-Gen. Joseph Nanven Garba’s election during UNGA44 in 1989,” the statement said.
Noting that the theme for UNGA74 is, “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion,” Adesina said the general debates would kick off on Tuesday, September 24 during which leaders of delegations would present their national statements and also speak on the theme of the session.
According to him, Buhari is scheduled as the fifth speaker on the first day of the debates which he described as “another plus for the country as most world leaders will be listening in the General Assembly Hall while the global audience watches on live television”.
He also said the president is expected to showcase his administration’s commitment to building on the achievements of its three-point agenda following the renewal of his electoral mandate by majority of Nigerians and also reaffirm Nigeria’s position on salient global issues.
The statement added: “While in New York, the Nigerian leader and members of his delegation are expected to participate in the Climate Action Summit with the theme, ‘A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win,’ convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres; the High-Level meeting organized by the President of UNGA74 on Universal Health Coverage with the theme, ‘Moving Together to Build a Healthier World,’ UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; High-Level Dialogue on Financial Development as well as High-Level Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
“In addition to the above high-level meetings, the Nigerian delegation is expected to participate at the Side-Events organized by the country’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“These include: SDGs Integration – Bridging the Policy Planning – Budget Gap for the Achievement of SDGs, organized by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development, organized by the Office of the National Coordinator/CEO, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development/African Peer Review Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD/APRM) in collaboration with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption bodies.”
The statement disclosed that seven European and African countries had confirmed their participation at the above event, which it said, was designed to mobilise collective global action against illicit assets and their recovery and return for developmental projects.
It also said Buhari would hold bilateral meetings with some leaders of other delegations including chief executive officers of big companies keen to invest in the country as well as Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates on sustaining the polio-free campaign as well as issues on human capital projects and development.
The statement noted that before returning to Abuja at the conclusion of his engagements, Buhari would meet with a select group of top America-based Nigerian businessmen and potential investors.
It listed those accompanying him to New York as Governors Abdullahi Sule, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Adegboyega Oyetola of Nasarawa, Kebbi and Osun States respectively.
Others are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Environment, Dr Muhammad Mahmoud; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
Also among members of the entourage are: the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, Sa’adiya Farouk; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD, Princess Gloria Akobundu; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.