UN General Assembly Elects Nigeria as President, Guterres Hails the President-Elect

The United Nations General Assembly on 4 June 2019, in New York elected Nigeria’s Professor Tijjani Mohammad-Bande as the President of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has had an outstanding career as a scholar and diplomat. He received a B.Sc (Political Science) from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (1979); MA (Political Science), Boston University, USA (1981); and Ph.D (Political Science), University of Toronto, Canada (1987).

He started at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria, rising from Graduate Assistant in 1980 to full Professor in 1998, and ultimately to Vice-Chancellor, in 2004, a position he held for five years. Between 2000 and 2004, he served as the Director-General of  Le Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Dèveloppement (CAFRAD), in Tangier, Morocco. From 2010 to 2016, Professor Muhammad-Bande held the position of Director-General of Nigeria’s National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, the country’s most reputable policy institution for training leaders from the public and private sectors, including high echelon officials of Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

As Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, he worked with colleagues from all regions of the world to achieve common objectives. He served as the Vice-President of the General Assembly during the 71st session and remains active in several fora, including as Chair of the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34), Member, Advisory Board of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre and Chair of the ECOWAS Group (2018-2019).

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has congratulated Professor Mohammad-Bande, who will assume duties in September.

“It is my pleasure to congratulate Professor Tijjani Mohammad-Bande as President of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. From your years as Permanent Representative of Nigeria, you know the United Nations well.” The Secretary General said, “As a Nigerian and an African, you have invaluable insights into the continent’s challenges – such as the Sahel and Lake Chad basin – and more broadly into the challenges our world faces across the three pillars of our work, peace, sustainable development and human rights.”

Guterres noted that Prof Mohammad-Bande would be in office as the United Nations geared up to commemorate her 75th anniversary – an occasion that he hoped could be used to reaffirm the value of international cooperation and the vision of the Charter.

September, according to him, would see a crucially important series of meetings, including the Climate Action Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, and the high-level meetings on universal health coverage, Small Island developing states and financing for sustainable development. 

The Secretary General commended Her Excellency María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, for her outstanding work as President of the 73rd session.  “I am most grateful for her support, especially for her support, of the United Nations reform and her overall stewardship of this body.” He added.