From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Nigeria has been elected for the position of African Union (AU) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.
The election took place on the sidelines of the 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.
Nigeria’s candidate in the election, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, secured 55 votes to emerge in a landslide victory.
The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mousa Faki Mahamat, was re-elected by 53 votes, followed by the Republic of Rwanda as Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission.
Speaking earlier during the session, President Muhammadu Buhari said the coronavirus pandemic has created additional burden to the public health system of the continent and posed a major challenge to the gains made in the socio-economic development and overall wellbeing of the African continent.
Buhari however said Nigeria welcomed the decision to establish the coronavirus African Vaccine Acquisition Capacity to accelerate the financing and procurement of coronavirus vaccines for the continent
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, also said the outbreak of the second wave of the pandemic has not made the situation any better.
He commended the African Centre for Disease Control for rising to the occasion by ensuring the implementation of set priorities, while also commending other efforts and support extended to the regional economic communities and member states.
The President further said the leadership provided by the Assembly Bureau, the cooperation of the African Union Commission and regional economic cooperation, including the support from partners have been exemplary.
‘Your Excellencies, the establishment of a coronavirus response special fund with the objective to implement measures to mitigate the socio-economic and humanitarian impact of Coronavirus in Africa, including boosting the capacity of the African Centre for Disease Control is commendable.
‘Nigeria welcomes today’s report from my brother Cyril Ramaphosa, including the endorsement of the attached decisions. In view of the results on ground today, Africa must be commended even as we begin the implementation of a mitigation strategy. The imperative for the immunisation of 60 percent of Africans with safe and secure vaccines cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria, therefore, welcomes the decision to establish the coronavirus African Vaccine Acquisition Capacity to accelerate the financing and procurement of coronavirus vaccines for the continent. We continue to appreciate the remarkable progress by the team with respect to securing a provisional 270 million coronavirus vaccines doses for Africa along with Africa Medical Supply platform and other laudable initiatives already in place.
‘Excellencies, in my capacity as ECOWAS Champion on Coronavirus, Nigeria has provided logistics support, including the freight in of critical Covid-19 medical supplies distributed to other ECOWAS member states.
‘At the national level and in the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we prioritize the vulnerable, including women, children, older persons and the unemployed in our efforts to provide medical and social assistance to mitigate the socio-economic effects of the disease. I will like to stress that Nigeria is committed to working with other member states in the spirit of regional cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general wellbeing. We will continue to partner with the World Health Organization (WHO), the African Centre for Disease Control and West African Health Organization as well as other countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing as well as unhindered supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines to all Africans,’ President Buhari said.