Nigeria’s Envoy, Itegboje Emerges Interim President of UNGA Special Session


Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The United Nations has appointed Nigerian envoy, Samson Itegboje, as the Interim President for the UN General Assembly’s Special Session on the coronavirus pandemic.

A special session of the UN General Assembly is a mini General Assembly called to deal with special matters, and in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN Charter provides for the General Assembly to meet in special sessions. ‘Special sessions shall be convoked by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of the members of the United Nations’.

Itegboje, who is the Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, was mandated in his capacity as the Interim President to put the modalities in place to convene the 31st Special Session of the General Assembly.

The convening of the 31st Special Session followed a request by Azerbaijan, on behalf of the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group Meeting in response to COVID-19, which was hosted in May 2020 by Azerbaijan.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, consequently informed the member states of the decision to convoke the 31st Special Session after more than two-thirds majority had concurred.

Itegboje, in a letter to the member states, noted that the General Assembly would have to decide on modalities for substantive discussions on the topic of the special session, including its date and any other matters concerning the organisation of the session.

He also informed the member states that the Credentials Committee of the 31st Special Session should have the same membership as the 74th Regular Session of the Assembly.

They are: Barbados, Botswana, China, Mauritius, Nepal, the Russian Federation, San Marino, the United States of America and Uruguay.

The 31st Special Session of the General Assembly would be held by video teleconference due to restrictions on in-persons meetings in line with the guidelines on COVID-19 pandemic.

He equally proposed that the General Assembly elect Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria as the president of the General Assembly at its 31st Special Session.