Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74), where he has been scheduled as the fifth speaker, underscore his administration’s commitment to building on the achievements of its three-point agenda following the renewal of his electoral mandate by a majority of Nigerians.
The President, who will depart Abuja Sunday for New York to participate in the 74th UNGA, which opens on Tuesday, September 17, will also reaffirm Nigeria’s position on salient global issues.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, in a statement, said Buhari will be accompanied by State Governors: Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun); Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Environment, Dr Muhammad Mahmoud; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
Also in the President’s delegation are: Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sa’adiya Farouk; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; National Coordinator/CEO, NEPAD, Princess Gloria Akobundu; and Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.
According to Adesina, President Buhari’s participation at this year’s gathering of world leaders is particularly significant as it coincides with Nigeria’s Presidency of the UNGA.
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was on June 4 unanimously elected as the President of UNGA74.
This marks the second time Nigeria would be occupying the prestigious position following late Maj-Gen. Joseph Nanven Garba’s election during UNGA44 thirty years ago in 1989.
The theme for UNGA74 is, “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion.”
The General Debates will kick off on Tuesday, September 24, during which leaders of delegations will present their National Statements as well as speak to the theme of the session.
While in New York, the Nigerian leader and members of his delegation are expected to participate in the Climate Action Summit with the theme, “A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win,” convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres; the High-Level meeting organised by the President of UNGA74 on Universal Health Coverage with the theme, “Moving Together to Build a Healthier World”; UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; High-Level Dialogue on Financial Development as well as High-Level Meeting to Commemorate and Promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
In addition to the above high-level meetings, the Nigerian delegation is expected to participate at the Side-Events organized by the country’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
These include: SDGs Integration – Bridging the Policy Planning – Budget Gap for the Achievement of SDGs, organized by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Assets Recovery and Return to Foster Sustainable Development, organized by the Office of the National Coordinator/CEO, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development/African Peer Review Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD/APRM) in collaboration with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption bodies.
According to Adesina:
“It is noteworthy that seven European and African countries have confirmed their participation at this event designed to mobilize collective global action against illicit assets and their recovery and return for developmental projects.
“Moreover, the meeting will further boost the profile of President Buhari as the African Union anti-corruption Champion.
“The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is also organizing a side-event on Sanitation and Hygiene Campaign for a Clean Nigeria: Sharing Lessons and Key Insights.
“This is crucial for Nigeria as donor nations and organisations are willing to support the country’s target to end open defecation by 2025.
“The Nigerian leader is also billed to hold bilateral meetings with some leaders of other delegations; chief executive officers of big companies keen to invest in the country; Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates on sustaining the polio-free campaign as well as issues on human capital projects and development.
“Before returning to Abuja at the conclusion of his engagements, President Buhari will meet with a select group of top America-based Nigerian businessmen and potential investors.”