High expectations as Buhari addresses UN this week



•‘What should be his focus’ • ECOWAS leaders meet over Burkina Faso
WITH high expectations, the world looks forward as President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 70th United Nations General Assembly at the global body’s headquarters in New York this week.

Meanwhile, President Buhari is set to host an Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Governments today in Abuja.

The UN General Assembly, which comprises all 193 members of the global organisation, provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter.

At a summit this week also, UN member states will adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

The SDGs, otherwise known as the Global Goals, build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015. The MDGs, adopted in 2000, aimed at an array of issues that included slashing poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality, and access to water and sanitation.

The Guardian gathered that the President is also scheduled to unveil Nigeria’s final status report on the implementation of the MDGs. There is also to be a side-event hosted by Nigeria on Health, HIV/AIDS and Strengthening the Implementation of the SDGs during the General Assembly.

In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Acting Regional Coordinator for Africa, United Nations Millennium Campaign at the United Nations, Hilary Ogbonna, confirmed that Buhari is billed to address the Assembly. He called attention to the key areas that the Nigerian President could show commitments to in his address to the UN Assembly.

His words: “One of the major aspects that you need to know about the MDGs is that it focused on the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic dimension, the social dimension and the environmental dimension. Nigeria should be a leading voice on climate change.

“Nigeria does not emit much of fossils, of carbon dioxide. But Nigeria, like most parts of Africa, is feeling the pinch. Lake Chad is also disappearing. So, Nigeria needs to be a leading voice on that. Nigeria needs to speak very strongly on climate change and how it impacts on poor people in this country. Nigeria needs to also speak strongly about global partnerships. It needs to show that it is open for business. Nigeria needs partnership and investment, not aids, and so also does the rest of Africa. Those are some of the things we would want Buhari to say.

“We will also want President Buhari to speak that his government is being reformed, that governance in Nigeria is being reformed. He should make commitments to come back home and pursue the fight against corruption effectively, because unless you have a corruption free society, you cannot be talking about achieving sustainable development.”

He went on: “Nigeria also needs to talk about the financing of the post- 2015 development agenda, financing, using local innovative means, especially in an environment that has this global oil crisis that we are facing now. This means that we need to develop other sources of revenue accruals. The President needs to speak on that. But beyond speaking on that, he needs to come home and implement that. Nobody can develop your country more than you. Whatever he says at the General Assembly, he needs to address them at home.

“He also needs to address the fact the insurgency is robbing the Northern part of Nigeria human development, and until those insurgencies are taken care of, the North East may not actually speak of implementing the SDGs. “

On the implementation of the MDGs, Ogbonna praised the country for doing a lot by putting the institutional and policy frameworks in place.

“If we judge Nigeria by the policy and by the institutions it has put in place, I think Nigeria should be a model to every African country,” he observed.
ECOWAS summit

The main item on the agenda of the ECOWAS emergency summit, according to statement by Buhari’s Senior Special assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, is the current political situation in Burkina Faso.

Some elements loyal to the ousted President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, executed the coup and placed the country’s Interim President, Michel Kafando and Prime Minister, Isaac Zida under detention, but released them on Friday.
The action of the section of the military attracted both continental and global outrage as the African Union (AU) promptly suspended the country and slammed travel ban and asset freeze on the junta leaders.

According to a statement at the weekend, while Buhari welcomed the release of the interim President, he, however, called for his unconditional restoration.

“President Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria unreservedly condemn Wednesday’s detention of the interim president, the prime minister and other ministers of the transitional government of Burkina Faso in an apparent coup d’etat.
“Buhari and Nigeria align with the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations in rejecting the brazen contravention of the constitution and transitional charter of Burkina Faso by elements of the Presidential Guard under the leadership of General Gilbert Diendere.

“President Buhari and Nigeria urge the Defence and Security Forces of Burkina Faso to keep faith with the agreed transitional programme for the return of the country to full democratic rule after elections, which were due to be held in the country on October 11, in support of which Nigeria has donated 20 pick-up vans to the National Electoral Commission of Burkina Faso.”
“Nigeria will give the fullest possible support to ongoing efforts by the ECOWAS mediatory team of President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic to quickly restore Burkina Faso to the path of order, democracy and constitutionalism.”

And to mark the 2015 International Day of Peace, stakeholders have urged the Nigerian government make the country free of violent conflicts and end the Boko Haram insurgency, just as the military reassured on its commitment to peace in the nation.

At an event to mark the Day in Abuja, Director General of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Prof. Oshita Oshita, said Nigeria has been involved in conflict resolution in Africa and around the globe since 1960 when it gained independence. As regards the insurgency currently experienced in the country, Oshita warned that West Africa will be in trouble if Nigeria is unstable.

According to the UN Resident Co-Ordinator, Ms. Jean Gough, the world today is plagued with conflict with massive casualties and refugees. Gough, who read the message of UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said that all people of the world should promote peace.
She noted that issues of gender equality, reducing corruption, non- infringement on the rights of others and access to services and infrastructure, if ignored, will keep breeding conflicts.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Folashade Yemi Esan, who was represented at the event, suggested national and transnational partnership to end the Boko Haram menace. Representative of the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase recalled the involvement of Nigeria Police in peace keeping around the world. He said police had set up a committee in the affected areas to obtain peace.

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