That Nigeria’s Quest for Membership of UNSC
By Yushau Shuaib
At 53 Nigeria has faced some challenges of nationhood, similar to what other great nations had or 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 becoming a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the country has made positive impact in international diplomacy and peacekeeping operations. This argument was re-echoed by President Goodluck Jonathan when asked world leaders to support the country’s quest to be a member UNSC.
Speaking at the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, President Jonathan said 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 special seat at the United Nations, after all, only few countries call the shot on global political arena in the United Nations in the name of 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 top the list of countries with the highest military expenditures as they spend an average of US$1 trillion combined annually on defense, accounting for large percentage of global military expenditures. They are largest arms exporters and the only nations officially recognised as “nuclear-weapon states” under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), though there are other countries believed to be in possession of nuclear weapons.
There is also G4 Nations of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil who are clamouring to become members too. Meanwhile two seats are to be reserved for Africa, where Nigeria is in contention with Egypt and South Africa for the coveted membership.
Apart from the five permanent members, there are ten non-permanent members, elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms who take turn at holding the presidency of the Security Council on a monthly basis.
Sentiments apart, Nigeria deserves the membership than any other African country because of its significant roles in global politics. It is the largest single contributor to UN global security engagements in Africa. 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.
In addition Nigeria’s military have been deployed as peace keepers under UN and ECOWAS arrangements in former Yugoslavia, Angola, Rwanda, Lebanon, Somalia, Iran-Iraq, East Timor, Dafur-Sudan, Congo and Sierra Leone and later 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.
The country has unique and enviable demographic position, human and natural resources, which are brought to bear on sub-regional, continental and global affairs. The country is Africa’s leading oil and gas producer and with population of over 170 million making it the most populous black nation on earth and seventh most populous country in the world. It is a plural society with multi-ethnic and multi-religious diversity.
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 (AU), Nigeria should work with other regions for 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.
This article by Yushau A. Shuaib has been published in the print editions of Blueprint, Vanguard, Leadership, People’s Daily, Thisday, Guardian …