A meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York. Via SleepOut
In fifty-three years, Nigeria has faced challenges of nationhood similar to what other great nations have faced. While one is concerned by the recurring disturbing and negative trends that dampen the spirit of writing positively about the country, Nigeria’s greatness is in its abundant human and material resources.
Having had the opportunity of travelling to some great countries, I am amazed by accomplishments of Nigerians who are highly regarded in various spheres of human endeavour. We are not unmindful of the fact that very few vagabonds among the citizens give the nation a bad name due to their corrupt tendencies and criminalities that, to some extent, exacerbate insecurity in the land.
Meanwhile, not minding what others will say about Nigeria’s quest to become a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the country has made positive impact in international diplomacy and peacekeeping operations. This argument was echoed by President Goodluck Jonathan when he asked world leaders to support the country’s quest to be a member of the UNSC.
Speaking at the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, President Jonathan stated that
Nigeria’s commendable performance on previous occasions when it held a non-permanent seat on the Security Council should assure the global community that the country deserved to be elected to the council again for the 2014/2015 session. He also called for faster action towards the democratisation of the Security Council as many countries are concerned about the lack of progress in the reformation of the United Nations.
A casual observer may not attach significant importance to the clamour for a special seat at the United Nations. After all, only a handful countries possess veto power.
The permanent members who have the veto power are America, Britain, China, France and Russia. They solely wield the so-called veto power, enabling them to prevent the adoption of any substantive draft Council resolution regardless of the level of international support for the draft. With such power they can do anything no matter what other nations consider and propose.
The permanent members of the Security Council top the list of countries with the highest military expenditures as they spend an average of $1 trillion combined annually on defense, accounting for a large percentage of global military expenditure. They are also the largest arms exporters and the only nations officially recognised as nuclear weapon states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (although there are other countries believed to be in possession of nuclear weapons).
There is also the G4, whose members — Germany, Japan, India and Brazil — are clamouring to become members of the UNSC too. Meanwhile, two seats are reserved for Africa, where Nigeria is in contention with Egypt and South Africa.
Apart from the five permanent members, there are ten non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms who take turns at holding the presidency of the Security Council on a monthly basis.
Sentiments apart, Nigeria deserves the membership more than any other African country because of its significant roles in global politics:
1. Nigeria is the largest single contributor to UN global security engagements in Africa.
2. It played greater roles in the ending colonialism in several African countries, including Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and still remains the main force in the regional ECOWAS/ECOMOG, which actively intervened in resolving and stabilising war-ravaged Liberia and Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
3. Nigeria’s military forces have been deployed as peace keepers under UN and ECOWAS arrangements in former Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Lebanon, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, East Timor, Dafur, Congo, Sierra Leone and Mali. In some of the foreign operations, Nigerian officers served as chiefs of defence in other countries or Command Officer-in-Charge of military operation.
4. The country has unique and enviable demographic position, human and natural resources, which are brought to bear on sub-regional, continental and global affairs — Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil and gas producer, and with a population of over 170 million, it is the most populous black nation on earth and the seventh most populous country in the world.
I believe Nigeria should adopt an appropriate strategy in pursuing the quest for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Since it has received the endorsement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, Nigeria should work with other regions to form strategic alliances for the success of the campaign.
We have always being a big brother, this is the time for others to support our aspiration.