Nigerians celebrate outgoing UN permanent representative, Muhammad-Bande

Nigerians celebrate outgoing UN permanent representative, Muhammad-Bande

Diplomats, UN Staff Recreation Council and Nigeria Association members have celebrated the achievements of Nigeria’s outgoing Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.

Mr Muhammad-Bande served the country in that capacity from 2017 to 2024.

During his tenure, he served as the President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly from September 2019 to September 2020. He previously served as vice president of the 71st session from September 2016 to September 2017.

At a farewell event organised in his honour at the Nigeria House in New York, the members of UNSRC testified that his tenure ushered in innovations and reforms in multilateralism.

UNSRC also honoured the outgoing Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Ambassador George Edokpa.

In his remarks, the President of UNSRC, Bolade Sobola, commended the relationship of the two diplomats with their compatriots, noting that they have served with honour and distinction.

“They have not only served our country but the whole of humanity. We appreciate you, Ambassador Muhammad Bande, for raising the profile of Nigeria within the UN, especially during the COVID,” said Mr Sobola.

Director and Deputy to the High Representative Office, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, Prof. Adedeji Ebo, lauded the leadership qualities, excellent relationship, and astonishing virtues of Mr Muhammad-Bande.

Mr Ebo described him as a great and diligent diplomat, who identified and supported Nigerians working at the UN and in the U.S.

“I’m a beneficiary of his humility and support when he was the President of General Assembly, that was during the COVID era and I was to launch a book that I edited. I approached him, he agreed to organise the book launch, and he chaired it. This occasion brought me closer to him. Prof is so humble, modest and kind. I really want to thank you for your support and wish you greater heights in life,” he said.

Similarly, Ms Tolu Lewis-Tamoka, former UNSRC President, congratulated Mr Muhammad-Bande for his excellent service to Nigeria and the world at large.

She noted that she was the president of the association when Mr Muhammad-Bande assumed office as President of the General Assembly.

“Shortly after then, the deputy permanent representative came on board; we are proud of the leadership qualities of the two of you. For Prof. Muhammad-Bande, during the COVID-19 period, he gave us much hope. I also commend the role he played in support of the UN Secretary-General during that period.

“Also, your humility and modesty, as others have mentioned, you never changed from the first day till the last day, and another value you have taught us is being there for your own,” she said.

Sharing Lewis-Tamoka views, Dr Akinyele Dairo, a UN retiree, extolled the supportive role of the outgoing Permanent Representative to Nigerians, citing his support when the United Nations Population Fund Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, died.

He also praised him for the role he played in training Nigerians, who were serving Nigeria locally and internationally.

“You have not only exhibited your excellent diplomatic skills in principle, but you did that in practice when you were the President of the General Assembly,’’ he said.

Also speaking, Ambassador Vivian Okeke, representative of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the United Nations, described Mr Muhammad-Bande as a humble diplomat who made Nigeria proud when he was the President of the General Assembly.

According to her, Mr Muhammad-Bande has mentored countless professors and the UN has benefited from his wisdom and wealth of knowledge.

She also praised his generosity in supporting Nigerians, citing his support in allowing people to use the Nigeria House for conferences and events.

In his remarks, Mr Edopka, thanked the association for honouring him and Mr Muhammad-Bande, noting that it was a privilege to serve Nigerians in that capacity.

He also spoke of the cooperation he received from Mr Muhammad-Bande and praised his achievements, saying, “the work the professor has done is everywhere.”

Mr Muhammad-Bande also UNSRC for hosting the event, admonished members on their strategic role in projecting the good image of Nigeria at the UN and U.S.

He said there was need to support the Nigerian government in its role as the head of ECOWAS, with the challenges of tenure elongation of some leaders and military rule.

“You have a duty to be patriotic to your country because of your location, being at the UN. Those of you at the UN have a greater responsibility to fellow Nigerians both at home and abroad,” he said.

In addition, he frowned at media reports painting Nigeria “black,” noting that there are so many good things happening in the country in spite of its challenges.

“For me, it has been a great privilege to work for the country, to work and learn from my compatriots,” he said.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of plaques to the duo in appreciation of their meritorious and exemplary service to Nigeria and the world.

(NAN)

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