By Owei Lakemfa
The United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, is the only stage in the world where all countries make annual appearances. But in this 76th session, Afghanistan is only entitled to one cameo appearance.
This is because the Western countries that dominate the UN Permanent Security Council are still healing their wounds and would not allow the Taliban government in Kabul to address the world, at least not on the platform of the United Nations. UN. On the contrary, they allow Ashraf Ghani’s headless government to occupy the Afghan siege but only to be seen, not heard.
Nigeria has an undisputed leadership led by President Muhammadu Buhari and he visited New York five days before his speech on Friday, September 24, 2021. This period allowed him to meet other world leaders and attend events. meetings on the sidelines of the conference. Buhari met the Queen of the Netherlands, Maxima Zorreguieta, and launched an appeal for funds, notably for agriculture.
He told her, “The people have returned to the land, which has been of tremendous benefit to us. We provided fertilizer and resuscitated dams, and it all paid off. Many would argue that rather than returning to the land, Nigerian farmers are in fact being driven from the land by armed invaders in the Benue food basin, terrorists in the northeast, and bandits, particularly in the North-west.
He also met the Burundian President, Evariste Ndayishimiye, who came to ask for help in Nigeria. The latter was to tell the UNGA that the “only enemy that remains a threat to (Burundian) citizens, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is common to all of us, is poverty”.
The case of Presidents Buhari and Ndayishimiye was like a man leaving his house to beg for food, to meet someone who has neither shelter nor food.
The United States, the United States, has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, threatening to sanction countries that trade with it as well. In fact, America with some of its allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel not only want to isolate Iran, but also to invade it.
It therefore took courage for the Nigerian government to meet Iran on the sidelines of the UNGA and demand the deepening of exchanges between the two countries. Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama told his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian: “We are two big countries in our respective sub-regions, but unfortunately the level of trade is not what it should. to be. And we should be doing a lot more.
Amir-Abdollahian responded that as part of the measures to increase trade with Nigeria, Iran is looking for ways to establish a direct sea route. Maybe the Buhari government is trying to tell Iran that its crackdown on the Shiite movement in Nigeria is not affecting trade.
While President Buhari was engaged in New York, some Nigerians were for days busy outside the United Nations building protesting against him and his policies. They are not a group to be easily dismissed, at least not in American consciousness, as Nigerians are the most educated group in the United States ahead of white, Latin American, and African American populations.
Not surprisingly, the Buhari administration was not without its supporters on the streets of New York. Mostly dressed in fine tracksuits and shirts in Nigerian national colors, they staged counter-demonstrations. But oddly enough, some of these pro-Buhari protesters were Latinos who presented them as non-Nigerians.
Some of these demonstrators, including blacks, interviewed on camera, confessed to having been hired to organize the protests. Undoubtedly, some Nigerian officials or businessmen who have landed the “contract” to hire these bottoms of American society, must smile at the bank; their bags stuffed with dollars.
As President Buhari prepared to take the podium, the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, the PDP, asked the world organization to question him about his government’s role in the alleged violations. rights, corruption, electoral malfeasance, economic adversity and the escalation of banditry, terrorism and crime in the country since coming to power in May 2015.
It was as if the PDP had prior knowledge of Buhari’s presentation and wanted to either get ahead of him or give the world a warning. The PDP has claimed that the failures of the Buhari administration and its alleged compromises have resulted in serious insecurity, including massacres, terrorism, kidnappings and banditry.
But in his speech, President Buhari dismissed the demands of the PDP. He asserted that Nigeria has not ceased to protect human rights and that it “remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure the promotion of human rights on its shores and beyond (because) no society cannot claim to be free or fair if it denies anyone these rights. ”Buhari added that his government is determined in the fight against terrorism, kidnappings and banditry.
The Buhari administration shocked this on December 31, 2020 when it abstained at the UN on a bill on concrete global action for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and violence. intolerance associated with it.
How could Nigeria not support a bill to protect humanity from racial discrimination and xenophobia, especially since many victims are black? However, in his address to the UNGA on Friday, he reiterated the country’s anti-racism heritage: “Nigeria has long been a principled fighter against racism and all forms of discrimination inspired by his experience. African.
In the past, racism has oiled the machine of slavery and colonialism. Today, racism is the driving force behind hate crimes and institutional discrimination. In all of this, Africans and people of African descent are among the main victims.
Another contradictory position he clarified in his speech concerns coups d’état. His administration shocked many not only by approving and supporting the military coup of April 19, 2021 in Chad which sacked the executive and parliament, but also by laying the red carpet on the coup leader, General Mahamat Deby, during his visit to Nigeria.
But in his speech to the UN, President Buhari made a strong case against coups. He told the world: “The recent trend of unconstitutional seizure of power, sometimes in reaction to unilateral constitutional changes by some leaders, should not be tolerated by the international community.
Prior to Buhari’s speech, the Church of Nigeria Communion Anglican had raised its voice on virtually the same issues the PDP had raised while taking a stand against the relentless foreign borrowing. He urged the Buhari administration “to show restraint in its new loans so as not to jeopardize the future of all Nigerians”.
At the UN, Buhari seemed to have an answer to these fears. He pleaded with creditors to “suspend debt, including outright cancellation” of debts owed by developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing states.