Global clamour for democratisation in the United Nations, UN, especially membership of the Permanent Council received a boost yesterday in Abuja when a former UN Under-Secretary–General, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, called for Africa’s representation at the Security Council, saying Nigeria is ably qualified to clinch the coveted seat
that will give the continent a voice.
Gambari made this call in an anniversary lecture he delivered to mark the United Nations at 70 entitled ‘’Nigeria, Africa and the United Nations: 70 years of Collaboration,’’ at the headquarters of Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja.
The occasion which was chaired by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijah
Bukar Abba Ibrahim, was co-sponsored by the ministry and UN office in Nigeria.
The former minister of foreign affairs reminded the august body that Africa is no longer a ‘hopeless continent’ as it used to be known.
He argued that the continent has witnessed substantial improvements in some areas such as in telecom development and management of its finances from 2002 till date.
However, he noted that the continent has not yet arrived as terrorism, unequal distribution of wealth and poverty are still endemic. He called on African leaders to take their destiny in their hand.
Gambari decried a situation whereby Africa is not involved in the planning and implementation of what affects its people. ‘’Time has come to tell Security Council members what they need to know and not what they want to hear,’’ he said.
On why Nigeria should represent Africa at the Security Council, the erudite diplomat disclosed that Nigeria since becoming the 99th member of the body on October 7, 1960 has contributed about 150,000 military officers and men in 40 peacekeeping operations around the world and currently has about 3,000 soldiers serving in different UN missions
abroad. Also, seven Nigerian generals have commandeered UN troops beginning with General Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi in Congo in 1960.
According to him, Africa will be better placed if given a permanent seat to fight disillusionment, wars, draught, famine and other woes such as HIV/AIDS and protection of its market. Gambari noted that Africa is the only continent not represented in the permanent membership and partly blamed the imbalance to the disastrous outing of the UN in Rwanda and Darfur which still remains a moral burden to the world body.
Gambari submitted that the UN should be reformed; change its perception on Africa to include it as a member of the Security Council, advocating that ‘‘the UN should not be left to government alone, NGOs and civil societies should be brought in to assist and their expertise tapped.’’
Earlier in her goodwill message, the current President of the UN Security Council represented by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, reaffirmed his country’s commitment in building a stable and prosperous world and how results can be delivered.
He also acknowledged the need for reforms in the Security Council and supports Africa’s representatives.
The message of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, whose tenure ends next year, was delivered by the UN Resident\Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Ms. Jean Gough.
He described the 70th anniversary as a period of stocktaking and re-doubling of efforts in tackling terrorism, ISIL, climate change; problems afflicting women and children and targets for sustaining development goals.
Meanwhile, Abba-Ibrahim re-echoed the country’s readiness in championing peace and stability in the continent and concerted action on terrorism, maintaining that Africa is ripe to have a permanent member in the council.


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