President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Sunday for New York, United States, to participate in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA74, which opened on Tuesday, September 17.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Thursday, the president’s participation in this year’s gathering of world leaders is particularly significant as it coincides with Nigeria’s Presidency of UNGA.
Recall that on June 4, 2019, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was unanimously elected as the President of UNGA74 – an indication of the country’s high esteem in global reckoning.
This marks the second time Nigeria would be occupying that prestigious position following late Maj-Gen. Joseph Garba’s election during UNGA44 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 on the theme of the session.
The Presidential aide revealed that President Buhari was scheduled as Number Five Speaker on the first day of the debates, describing it as ”another plus for the country as most world leaders will be listening in the General Assembly Hall, while the global audience watches on live television.”
He said the President would be expected to underscore his administration’s commitment to building on the achievements of its three-point agenda, following the renewal of his electoral mandate by majority of Nigerians.
According to him, the president will also reaffirm Nigeria’s position on salient global issues.
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”.
The summit was convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
President Buhari will also participate in the High-Level meeting organized by the President of UNGA74 on Universal Health Coverage, with the theme, “Moving Together to Build a Healthier World”.
The Nigerian leader will attend the 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.
Adesina disclosed that seven European and African countries had confirmed their participation at the 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,” he added.
He said 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.”
He said the Nigerian leader was also billed to hold bilateral meetings with some leaders of other delegations; chief executive officers of big companies keen on investing 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,” Mr Adesina stated.
The Presidential aide disclosed that the president would be accompanied to New York by Governors Abdullahi Sule, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Adegboyega Oyetola of Nasarawa, Kebbi and Osun States respectively.
Others on the president’s entourage include the 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 on the President’s delegation are: Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, Sa’adiya Farouk; Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu and Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
The National Security Adviser, Rtd. Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno; 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 are also part of the delegation.