Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN, Mr Ban Ki-moon, has expressed confidence that the chances of Africa’s representation in the UN Security Council are bright, saying Nigeria remains a dependable ally of the UN as it is the fourth largest contributor to global peace through peacekeeping operations even as he commended the government for conducting a free and fair elections in April.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the presentation of the report of the Presidential Committee on Monitoring, Assessment and Evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, the UN chief scribe said it was a general consensus that the security council be reformed to allow for more representation.
“The member states of the UN have been discussing this matter for the past 20 years on how to adapt the security council to the changing world, considering the dramatic significant changes in the international political scenes,” he said.
According to him, “the member states have agreed that there is need for the reform of the security council in a democratic and transparent and more representative way, for that there is no disagreement. Member states have now in the last three years accepted accelerating the negotiations on how to find the common elements in making some good modalities where member states could agree.”
Hails 2011 polls
Meanwhile, Ki-moon has congratulated the government and people of Nigeria on the successful conduct of free and fair elections last month.
The UN scribe made the remark while responding to the speech of Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Odein Ajumogobia, who welcomed him to the newly completed headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
Ki-Moon further stated that many international groups, which monitored the Nigerian polls testified that it was conducted in a transparent manner, adding that this was an indication that the nation’s democracy had matured.
He further thanked the Federal Government for the contribution of the nation to peace-keeping operations around the world.
According to him, ” Nigeria is the fourth largest contributor of troops to the UN and the nation is involved in nine peace-keeping operations around the world”.
Ki-Moon commended the Federal Government for the role it played in ECOWAS with President Goodluck Jonathan as Chairman, adding that Nigeria’s leadership role during the Cote D’Ivoire crisis ensured that the popular wish of the people of that country, expressed through the ballot box, was respected.
He further stated that he was in the country to discuss issues relating to Nigeria’s role as a regional leader and how the goals of peace and development could be achieved within the continent.
The UN scribe also stated that he welcomed Nigeria’s bid to become a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN, which is the global body’s topmost organ on world peace and security.
He thanked the nation for contributing several high_calibre personnel to the world body, including Prof. Babatunde Osotnmehin, Dr. Ibrahim Gambari, and Margaret Evbot, who had just been appointed the UN scribe’s Special Representative in Central African Republic.
Briefing the press later about the closed door meeting held between him and the UN scribe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said both of them spoke about the situation in Cote ‘D’Ivoire and the possibility of having a ceasefire in Libya.
“We also discussed how the Millenium Development Goals, MDGs, could be actualized particularly as it relates to goals 4 and five which focus on infant mortality in the country,” the minister said.
Ajumogobia further stated that they also discussed how the cooperation between Nigeria and the global body could be enhanced.
MDGs Score Card
The number one world diplomat said “Nigeria has been doing well, your initiative and examples should be emulated and expanded throughout African continent and that is why I am here. That is what I am raising my voice to the world, first of all leadership is very important as you have seen the in the national healthcare bill passed by the national assembly”.
While commending the appreciable effort of Nigeria on MDGs the UN boss said through quality leadership by President Goodluck Jonathan in the last one year, Nigeria’s rating has significantly improved.
“This is very important initiative and leadership. With such a strong political leadership by President Jonathan and supported by international community and full participation of the civil societies the MDG target by 2015 can be met and this is exactly what I have been urging world leaders to come and show leadership on”.
“I am here to discuss how United Nations and Nigeria can further strengthen our traditional partnerships. You have sent many distinguished Nigerian leaders, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari who is now working as a UN/AU joint special representative in Darfur and professor Babatunde Osetimehin as the new Executive Director of the UNFPA, you have a general Obi as the force commander in Sudan and just a few days ago I appointed Ms. Margaret Vocks as my special representative in Central Africa and these are some of your very distinguished citizens who are showing excellent leadership and participation. I hope that this will continue from your side”.
Another issue of focus as part of his visit to Nigeria is on “discussing with the leadership of Nigeria on how we can see this maternal mortality rate and child mortality rate could be reduced. The general assembly last year adopted the global strategy for women and children’s health. We have to prevent all these women and children from dying from preventable diseases”.
He said “I was impressed by what I have seen in Maitama general hospital and I am going to visit another healthcare centre after this press briefing. With such leadership role by the president and relevant ministers, communities and local leaders, will be good examples to many countries in the African continent and I highly commend such leadership and vision to have this healthcare bill passed by the National Assembly and this is again very important initiative by the government”.
“I am very happy to be in Nigeria, even though I have not yet finished my programmes here but I am very much satisfied and I sincerely hope that Nigeria will continue to play such leadership roles as have been displayed in Cote’divoire as a President of ECOWAS. Still I count on the continued leadership role in the region and in the world”.