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Tijani Muhammad-Bande, new president of the UN General Assembly

09.06.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Created in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, the United Nations is the main policeman in the maintenance of peace in the world. It has six main organs in its administration, including the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, the Secretariat and the General Assembly. Among its six members, the General Assembly is one country, one vote.

Established by the United Nations Charter, the General Assembly plays a leading role since it is the main deliberative, discretionary and representative body of the United Nations. Composed of all 193 members of the organization, it is a unique multilateral negotiating forum for all international issues opened by the charter. It also fulfills an essential function in the establishment of standards and the codification of international law.

The General Assembly which meets annually from September to December, and if necessary from January to August to review the outstanding reports of the Fourth and Fifth Committees, is headed by a President, elected for a one year term. The latter is elected at least three months before the opening of the session to be presided over. The President thus elected shall take office only at the beginning of the session for which he is elected and remains in office until the end of the session. The need to respect the rotation process during the election of the President of the Assembly has thus enabled Nigerian Tijani Muhammad-Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations since 2017, to be brought to preside over the destiny of the Presidency for a year.

Who is Tijani Muhammad-Bande?

Tijani Muhammad-Bande was born on December 7, 1957 in the city of Zagga in the present state of Kebbi, in northwestern Nigeria. After undergraduate studies at Ahmadu Bello University, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1979, he had the opportunity to continue his training in the United States and Canada, where he obtained the rank of professor in political science and administration. He was Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations and was Vice-President of the General Assembly at its 71st session in September 2016. On June 4, 2019, he was elected President of the 74th Session of the United Nations Assembly to replace Ecuadorian Maria Fernanda Espinosa, whose term ends in September 2019.

An essentially symbolic post

Unsurprisingly, the Nigerian diplomat Tijani Muhammad-Band was unanimously elected on Tuesday, June 4, by acclamation to lead the UN, as he was the only candidate for Africa. He succeeds Ecuadorian Maria Fernanda Espinosa-Garc├ęs. Although it can sometimes bring about profound changes in international issues such as development, peace and security, international law, this post does not offer a great deal of political latitude and does not make essential element of world politics. This consequence of the symbolic nature of the office of President of the said Assembly is dependent on the role of the Assembly which is mainly advisory, unlike the Security Council which has mainly executive powers. In this wake, these conclusions have only a value of recommendation.

If he is unable to make personal changes to the course of world politics, he can at least participate in influencing them, since it is under the auspices of the body that he presides over the appointment of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the non-permanent members of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the International Court of Justice on the recommendation of the Security Council; and the Human Rights Council.

The organization of the 74th United Nations Assembly

The responsibility for organizing the next session of the United Nations General Assembly rests with its president. To this end, it will be Tijani Muhammad-Bande who will take on the responsibility of organizing and leading the 74th United Nations General Assembly to be held from 17 September 2019 in New York at United Nations Headquarters.

Faced with the 193 members of the body, Tijani Muhammad-Bande set at the end of the 73rd session the priorities that go with his mandate. Particularly, he listed the acceleration of the fight against climate change, the establishment of universal health coverage, the promotion of gender equality and the elimination of poverty and world hunger.

Supported with great enthusiasm by his country Nigeria who sent a high-level delegation to New York to support his candidacy, Tijani Muhammad-Bande will have the difficult task of bringing to the forum the various problems that Africa is facing. . Being a national of the old continent, he has a better knowledge of the her problems. It is also what has helped to support this candidacy, because beyond the media coverage it can bring to Nigeria and Africa, it will also be Africa’s first ambassador to the Assembly since five years. However, it is important to note that the office of President of the United Nations Assembly is different from that of Secretary General of the United Nations.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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