Nigeria on Saturday August 1, assumed the Presidency of United Nations Security Council. The country’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Joy Ogwu, took over from Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, the Permanent Representative of New Zealand, who was in charge for the month of July, 2015.
The development is fundamental in many ways. First, it marks the first time in the history of the UN that an elected member of the Security Council would assume presidency of the Council for the 4th time in two separate tenures within 5 years.
Again, this is the fifth time since independence that Nigeria has been elected to serve on this most powerful decision-making organ of the United Nations charged with the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. Nigeria previously served on the Council from 1966 – 1967, 1978 – 1979, 1994 – 1995 and 2011 – 2012.
Nigeria’s return to the Council in January 2014, after having left only in December 2012, represents one of the shortest periods in the annals of the United Nations that a Member State has spent between two terms on the Council. This is even more remarkable as it is occurring under the institutional memory of the same Permanent Representative, Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu.
Nigeria currently holds the chair of two Security Council Committees: The Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2048 (2012) concerning Guinea-Bissau and Iraq Sanctions Committee pursuant to resolution 1518 (2003).
In addition, Nigeria is one of the three vice-chairs of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and one of the two vice-chairs of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning Sudan.
No doubt, the continuous election of Nigeria to this enviable position stems from the confidence the international community has on Nigeria. This confidence was not earned overnight. It is a reward for hard work, commitment to United Nations and contributions to global peace. Nigeria has been a true, loyal and committed member of the United Nations. No member nation of the UN, save, perhaps India, comes close to Nigeria’s outstanding record in participating in UN peace keeping operations around the world.
In these operations, our country has made and continues to make valuable human and other sacrifices that other nations and peoples might be at peace with one another. In the words of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, “for us, no sacrifice is too high to make for peace” anywhere in the world.
Our country left its enviable mark on the peace keeping operations in Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia, the Congo, Somalia, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It actively participated in the peace effort in the Dafur region of Sudan. Nigeria’s participation in these peace missions has earned it international commendations and brought stability to many countries and regions around the world.
That aside, Nigeria has consistently met all its financial obligations to the UN. In local parlance, it is a financial member of the world body. Therefore, we view her recent election to the Presidency of the UN Security Council as a compensation for its UN support. We also see it as a fair and just acknowledgement of our country’s role in ensuring that the UN realises the objectives of its founding fathers and remains relevant for all times and to all the peoples of the world.
We congratulate Nigeria on this great feat and commend Prof, Joy Ogwu, the Permanent Representative for her steadfastness and selfless service to the nation. We are optimistic that her reign would open more doors of diplomatic/bilateral relations as well as business, political and economic opportunities for our country.