By Deji Elumoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for a comprehensive overhaul of the structures and operations of the African Union (AU) for it to be more functional in meeting set targets and relevance, warning that failure to do so will result in the organisation becoming stale.
Speaking during the day two of the 34th Annual Summit of the African Union held virtually, the President, according to a release on Sunday by his Media Assistant, Garba Shehu, told his colleagues that global realities demand that the AU must undergo comprehensive reform for it to remain relevant in intergovernmental processes.
He said: “As your excellences are no doubt aware, global realities demand that the AU be overhauled, if it must remain relevant in intergovernmental processes. We must work concertedly to ensure a productive, self-sufficient and purpose driven organization that will fully serve the interests of the people.
“As we commence the operationalization of this new structure and system, Nigeria demands a truly reformed, efficient and effective AU Commission, one that is fully committed to the discharge of its duties and responsibilities.’’
President Buhari commended President Paul Kagame of Rwanda for presenting a special report on the need to reform the AU.
He also appreciated the support of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in the election of Ambassador Bankole Adeoye as Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security.
The President noted, with gratitude, the overwhelming and historic endorsement of the ambassador with 55 votes, an indication that all the members voted, while congratulating the career diplomat, who also serves as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the AU and UNECA.
He therefore urged Ambassador Adeoye to deploy his knowledge and experience in foreign policy and diplomacy, particularly on bilateral and multilateral issues, to bring value to the new position, with an assurance of the country’s support.
The President also congratulated all elected members of the African Union Commission, 2021, which include the Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat from Chad, and Deputy Chairman, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa from Rwanda.