UNITED NATIONS-– Nigeria’s Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, permanent representative of Nigeria to the UN, has been elected the new president of the United Nations General Assembly.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday picked Bande, a career and serious-minded diplomat.
Bande will preside over the 193-member General Assembly, one of UN’s highest policy-making bodies. As president Muhammad-Bande will be presiding over the UN’s 74th session, which is scheduled to kick off in September.
Muhammad-Bande will become the second Nigerian national as UNGA president after Joseph Nanven Garba, who held the position between 1989 and 1990.
“The implementation of the existing mandates and the 2030 Agenda with particular focus on peace and security, poverty and education, zero hunger, quality education, climate action, and inclusion will constitute the major priorities of my presidency,” said Muhammad-Bande after he was elected by acclamation to the top UNGA post.
“I am committed to promoting partnerships that are needed from all stakeholders to achieve our objectives and ultimately ensure that we do our best to ensure peace and prosperity, particularly for the most vulnerable,” he added.
“We must continue to invest in sustaining peace and conflict prevention, given that our organization strives to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” said the UNGA president-elect.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres extended his warm congratulations to Muhammad-Bande on his election, noting that the new UNGA leader brings “many important and admirable qualifications to the job.”
“As a Nigerian and an African, you have invaluable insights into the continent’s challenges, such as the Sahel and Lake Chad basin, and more broadly into the challenges our world faces across the three pillars of our work, peace, sustainable development and human rights,” said Guterres.
The secretary-general recalled that September will see “a crucially important series of meetings,” including the Climate Action Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, and the high-level meetings on universal health coverage, small island developing states and financing for sustainable development, adding that he is looking forward to working with the president-elect in the coming year.
Noting that the president-elect “will be in office as we gear up to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations,” the secretary-general said that it is “an occasion that I hope we can use to reaffirm the value of international cooperation and the vision of the (UN) Charter.”
According to UN sources and experts, the office of the UNGA changes every year between the five geographic groups: African, Asian, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, and Western European.
In full respect of the established principle of geographical rotation and General Assembly resolution 33/138 of Dec. 19, 1978, the president of the 74th session of the UNGA was to be elected from the African states.
In line with the new process, the president of the 73rd session of the UNGA convened an informal interactive dialogue with the candidate nominated by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 13.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday dispatched a delegation to New York to drum up support for the country’s candidate in the election.