By Omololu Ogunmade
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday advocated the necessity for a fair and equitable representation in the United Nations (UN) Security Council, saying doing so is crucial to achieving “the United Nations we need.”
The president made the call when he joined other world leaders at a virtual meeting of the UN General Assembly in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the global body.
Nigeria has over the years been calling for a reform of the Security Council that will offer Africa a place in the structure and composition of the Security Council in recognition of its contributions to peace-keeping operations.
Buhari described demands for the reform as just and long overdue, pledging Nigeria’s commitment to the UN’s principles of human rights, peace and security, and democratic governance.
He also pledged Nigeria’s rededication to what he described as multilateralism and rules-based international system.
The president also expressed optimism that this year’s event would offer the UN the platform to respond to numerous challenges confronting member states.
He said: ”The demand for the reform of the United Nations Security Council is just and a place for Africa in the very strategic Organ of the Organisation is long-overdue.
”In our collective effort to rebuild the United Nations of our dream, Nigeria reaffirms her commitment to uphold the principles of the United Nations including human rights, peace and security, as well as democratic governance.
”I, therefore, reiterate Nigeria’s rededication to multilateralism and the rules-based international system.
”It is my hope that this anniversary will encourage us to respond to the numerous challenges we face and support efforts aimed at building the United Nations system we desire.”
A statement by one of the president’s spokesmen, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari hailed the UN for remaining true to the aspirations of its founders.
On Nigeria’s participation at the UN, Buhari said the country had remained a reliable partner of the UN in its aspiration to achieve its mandate of a more peaceful, secure, and developed world.
According to him, this 75th general assembly is significant because it coincides with the 60th year of Nigeria’s entry into the UN.
He proceeded to enumerate various ways Nigeria has contributed to the UN’s peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, adding that Nigeria has at five different occasions served as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
”This year’s celebration is significant to Nigeria as it coincides with our 60th anniversary of joining this esteemed Organisation.
”As an active member of the organisation, Nigeria has contributed human, financial and material resources to several United Nations peacekeeping operations.
”We have also provided humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced persons; helped countries in tackling diseases such as Ebola and extended both human and financial resources as technical aid to other countries.
”In addition, we have served on five occasions as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and contributed significantly to the promotion of international peace and security,” he said.
According to him, the international organisation has continued to play the crucial role of promoting global peace and security.
Adesina said as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the UN for the first time convened a gathering of world leaders in a virtual format for high-level meetings and the annual general debate.
He said Buhari in his video message to the UN at 75 gathering, highlighted Nigeria’s achievements at the UN since 1960 when the country officially joined the organisation.
He said Buhari also highlighted the country’s active contributions in human, financial and material resources to several UN peacekeeping operations, among other priorities.
”For over seven decades, the United Nations has remained true to the aspirations of its founders. It continues to play a crucial role in fostering global peace and security. The organisation has grown in membership and scope to reflect contemporary global trends.
”Collectively, we have improved and saved lives as well as defended the rights of the vulnerable in adherence to the principles of the United Nations,” the president said.
Buhari pointed out that nations of the world worked together to shelter refugees; foster development; invest in conflict resolution and peacekeeping, and promoted women’s and children’s rights.
Buhari also spoke on decolonisation, calling on member states to abide by UN Resolution 1514 seeking the independence of colonial countries and peoples.
He said the quest to realise total decolonisation remains incomplete as long as non-self-governing territories continue to exist.
The president recalled that beyond issues of peace and security, the UN had also played active roles in the decolonisation of many territories.
According to him, ”This was achieved through the adoption of many resolutions that supported the independence and subsequent admission of over 80 territories into the Organisation.
”However, the quest to realise total decolonisation remains incomplete as long as non-self-governing territories continue to exist. In this regard, I call on member states to abide by UN Resolution 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.’’
He added that in spite of progress made in safeguarding world peace and promoting global cooperation, the world is still faced with complex challenges.
”Efforts to address impediments for the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were undermined by the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic which brought about unprecedented challenges that cannot be tackled by any single country or region.
”The inward-looking tendencies exhibited by member states in the wake of the pandemic have particularly revealed an urgent need for us to strengthen international cooperation, unity, and solidarity to address all negative developments including climate change, violent extremism, natural disasters, and cyber-security.
”However, as we continue to battle the pandemic and search for possible solutions, including an effective vaccine, we implore nations to adopt a global approach in addressing the global health emergency in a bid to build the future we want,” he said.