A Nigerian Emerges United Nations General Assembly President

A Nigerian has emerged the president of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) after the UN on Tuesday picked Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, permanent representative of Nigeria to the UN, to be its next president.

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The 193-member General Assembly, one of UN’s highest policy-making bodies, will have Muhammad-Bande presiding over its 74th session, which is scheduled to kick off in September.

Muhammad-Bande will be the second Nigerian UNGA president after Joseph Nanven Garba, who held the position between 1989 and 1990.

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“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.

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“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.

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.

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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.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Sunday sent a delegation to support the candidate, who represents Nigeria.

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According to Presidency in a series of tweets via the official Twitter handle @NGRPresident,Ambassador Mustapha Sulaiman is leading the delegation, which includes the DG, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Bello Aliyu Gusau; and SSA to the President on
Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

The statement quoted Buhari as expressing confidence that Nigeria’s Presidency of the 74th session of the UNGA will provide a unique opportunity for Nigeria to lead the global call to tackle the political, social, economic and environmental challenges facing the world.

Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has had an outstanding career as a scholar and diplomat.
He received a B.Sc (Political Science) from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (1979); MA
(Political Science), Boston University, USA (1981); and Ph.D (Political Science), University of
Toronto, Canada (1987).

He started at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria, rising from Graduate Assistant in
1980 to full Professor in 1998, and ultimately to Vice-Chancellor, in 2004, a position he held
for five years. As Vice Chancellor, with about twenty thousand (20,000) full-time students
spread across various faculties, the University came first in the accreditation of academic
programmes in Nigerian universities (2007).

Between 2000 and 2004, he served as the Director-General of Le Centre Africain de
Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Dèveloppement (CAFRAD), in Tangier,
Morocco. Established by African Governments in 1964, CAFRAD is the continent’s premier
intergovernmental Centre for governance reform. During his stewardship, the Organization
improved on much needed training for senior African public servants, conducted specialized
researches on African governance issues and worked with a variety of partners, particularly
the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

He is married with four children and his hobbies include swimming, soccer, field hockey,
farming and music.