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Nigeria begins campaign for UN Security Council seat

The campaign followed the recent endorsement of Nigeria’s candidature by ECOWAS and AU.

The elections into the council comes up on Oct. 15, during the 64th session of the UN General Assembly.

Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Joy Ogwu said Thursday in New York, that the campaign started with a luncheon for ECOWAS members at the UN.

Ogwu said that the luncheon was hosted by the Nigerian mission to sensitise ECOWAS members on Nigeria’s aspirations, and to garner support towards the election proper.

She said that the campaigns would be carried to AU countries, as well as the other 192 UN member states, to ensure Nigeria’s success at the election.

She, however, noted that, “considerable work must be done in a well-coordinated manner to bring Nigeria’s interest and contention to the fore, bearing in mind that member states have the option of abstaining during elections”.

The ambassador stressed the need for NIgeria to “vigorously campaign and lobby hard”, in order to win the election by “an appreciable margin at the first ballot”.

“In other words, in spite of the endorsements and the regional consensus, it is important for Nigeria to demonstrate its credibility as a Security Council candidate by securing more than two-thirds of the votes during the balloting”.

Ogwu explained that all hands must be on deck for the campaign, which she said would involve all Nigerian missions in other countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Presidency.

“We must lobby and intensify our campaign at all levels,” she added.

Nigeria had registered her intention to seek election as one of the 10 non-permanent members of the council, in May, last year, when Ogwu presented her letter of credence to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

She had stated: “This decision flows from President Umaru Yar’Adua’s personal desire for Nigeria to reclaim a presence in the council, so as to stregthen its voice in global peace and security building efforts.

“This is a modest representation, given Nigeria’s size, and indeed status as a major regional player and widely-acclaimed contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts,” she said.

Ogwu recalled that Nigeria had been an active participant of UN peacekeeping efforts since Congo in 1960 and has remained in the forefront in the quest for global peace and security.

“In nearly 50 years of active engagement in multilateral diplomacy, Nigeria has never failed the UN system, even as she struggles with often daunting domestic challenges of nation-building,” Ogwu said.

She said that the Yar’Adua administration was committed to extending the frontiers of democracy, good governance and the rule of law.

NAN reports that Nigeria must secure a minimum of 127 votes, which is two-thirds of the 192-member UN General Assembly, to secure the Security Council seat.

The country had served three tenures on the UN Security Council between 1966 to 1967, 1978 to 1979 and 1994 to 1995.

Nigeria currently chairs the UN Second Committee, which deals with economic and financial matters, and the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.


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