President Muhammadu Buhari has left Abuja today for New York, United States to take part in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74) which opened on Tuesday, September 17. President Buhari is accompanied to New York by Governors Abdullahi Sule, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Adegboyega Oyetola of Nasarawa, Kebbi and Osun states respectively; 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. ADVERTISEMENT Also on the president’s delegation are Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sa’adiya Farouk; Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); 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, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire. ADVERTISEMENT NOMINATE AFRICAN OF THE YEAR 2019 President Buhari’s participation at this year’s gathering of world leaders is said to be significant because it coincides with Nigeria’s Presidency of UNGA. Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was unanimously elected as the President of UNGA74 on June 4, 2019. According to a statement issued last week by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, Muhammad-Bande’s election was an indication of the country’s high esteem in the global reckoning. It marks the second time Nigeria would be occupying the prestigious position, following late Maj-Gen. Joseph Nanven 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 to the theme of the session. President Buhari is scheduled as Number Five Speaker on the first day of the debates – 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. The president is 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 the majority of Nigerians. He will also reaffirm Nigeria’s position on salient global issues. While in New York, President Buhari and members of his delegation, the statement added, are expected to participate in the Climate Action Summit with the theme, “A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win,” convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres; the High-Level meeting organized by the President of UNGA74 on Universal Health Coverage with the theme, “Moving Together to Build a Healthier World”; 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. The statement said seven European and African countries had confirmed their participation at this event designed to mobilize collective global action against illicit assets and their recovery and return for developmental projects. The meeting will further boost the profile of President Buhari as the African Union anti-corruption Czar.