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Nigerian diplomat elected to UN General Assembly presidency

UNITED NATIONS´╝ŹThe United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday picked Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, permanent representative of Nigeria to the UN, to be its next president.

Muhammad-Bande will preside over the 193-member body’s 74th session, which is scheduled to kick off in September.

Muhammad-Bande will be the second Nigerian assembly president after Joseph Nanven Garba, who held the position between 1989 and 1990.

“The implementation of the existing mandates and the 2030 Agenda with particular focus on peace and security, poverty and education, zero hunger, quality education, climate action, and inclusion will constitute the major priorities of my presidency,” Muhammad-Bande said after he was elected by acclamation to the top post.

“I am committed to promoting partnerships that are needed from all stakeholders to achieve our objectives and ultimately ensure that we do our best to ensure peace and prosperity, particularly for the most vulnerable,” he added.

Muhammad-Bande is a Nigerian political scientist, administrator and career diplomat. He served as vice-president of the General Assembly during its 71st session, which began in September 2016.

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Speaking at an informal news conference about multilateralism after the election, Muhammad-Bande said that “a lot of problems cannot be solved through national effort alone,” adding that “it is important to solve our problems collectively”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres extended his warm congratulations to Muhammad-Bande on his election, noting that the new UNGA leader brings “many important and admirable qualifications to the job”.

“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,” said Guterres.

The secretary-general recalled that September will see “a crucially important series of meetings”, including the Climate Action Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit, and the highlevel meetings on universal health coverage, small island developing states and financing for sustainable development, adding that he is looking forward to working with the president-elect in the coming year.

Noting that the president-elect “will be in office as we gear up to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN”, the secretary-general said that it is “an occasion that I hope we can use to reaffirm the value of international cooperation and the vision of the (UN) Charter”.

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