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UNGA78: The world will ignore Nigeria at its own peril, Tinubu warns

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In a compelling address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) in New York City, President Bola Tinubu emphasized Nigeria’s pivotal role in the global landscape. He conveyed a stern message that ignoring Nigeria would have far-reaching consequences for the entire world.

President Tinubu underscored the urgency of translating the idealistic narratives often presented by world leaders at the UN into tangible actions. He warned that the world risked failure if these narratives remained confined to rhetoric and were not transformed into meaningful initiatives.

During a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at the UN Headquarters, President Tinubu asserted that the world could not afford to neglect Nigeria. He stressed the necessity of moving beyond mere discussions and “talk shops” to address real challenges in real-time.

The President’s sentiments were conveyed through a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, titled ‘President Tinubu to UN Secretary-General: We must not use human rights advocacy as a weapon to stop African nations from taking steps needed to reform their economies.’

President Tinubu called for a transformation of the United Nations, urging it to evolve from being primarily a platform for discussions into a global center for coordinating and executing action. He expressed concern that a significant portion of resources designated for the world’s poorest countries was being consumed by overhead and administrative costs, detracting from the organization’s primary mission of providing essential assistance.

The President emphasized the need for concerted and immediate action, particularly in addressing the pervasive poverty and security challenges facing Africa. He urged collaboration and synergy, stressing that the time to take decisive action was now. President Tinubu drew upon his personal history, highlighting his journey from poverty to leadership and his determination to eradicate poverty in Nigeria.

President Tinubu asserted that Africa would no longer tolerate powerful nations using human rights advocacy to obstruct developing economies from combating those who illegally exploit the continent’s vast mineral resources. He called attention to the illicit siphoning and smuggling of these resources, coupled with the smuggling of Western-made weapons, which disproportionately enriched powerful economies while destabilizing Africa.

He emphasized the pressing challenge of scavengers exploiting illegal mines, extracting valuable resources, and oppressing communities. President Tinubu stressed the right to self-protection and declared that Nigeria would be resolute in stopping these illicit activities, even if it meant questioning motives and being assertive.

In response to President Tinubu’s concerns, UN Secretary-General Guterres acknowledged the ongoing reforms within the United Nations to address institutional shortcomings and enhance decision-making power for the developing world. He recognized the imperative of reshaping the institution to better represent the current global realities.

Guterres also emphasized the UN’s commitment to supporting the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the face of recent military coups in the West African region. He praised President Tinubu’s leadership and affirmed Nigeria’s indispensable role in the sub-region.

In conclusion, President Bola Tinubu’s address at the United Nations General Assembly emphasized Nigeria’s pivotal position in the global context and the need to move beyond rhetoric to actionable initiatives. His message underscored the urgency of addressing critical issues such as poverty, security, and resource exploitation. It also highlighted the necessity for a more efficient and responsive United Nations to meet the pressing challenges of our time.

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