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A Permanent seat at UN Security Council

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By Nicole

Nigeria's bid for a permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council.

The paradigm change caused by the Russia-Ukraine war in the international order has echoed the call for UN Security Council (UNSC) reform in order to appropriately respond to global issues and adapt to the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century. This opens the door for the African continent to gain permanent membership in the UN Security Council. However, given the country’s current status, the likelihood of Nigeria assuming this position remains a source of concern.

President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, stated before the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2022, that the United States (US) supports an increase in the number of permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), particularly the inclusion of countries from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Accepting additional African members will bring the organization closer to the people and alleviate the continent’s sense of marginalization on the world stage. However, the issue that begs an answer is: which African country has the capacity to ascend and join the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), France, Russia, and China on the permanent seat of the UN Security Council (UNSC)?

Nigeria has been contributing to the UN peace keeping mission.

Nigeria has been contributing to the United Nations peacekeeping effort around the world for several years. Her contributions to African peace and security cannot be overstated, particularly in the restoration of peace in Liberia and Gambia, among other countries. In 1990, Nigeria led the Economic Community Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), a joint military intervention force deployed by ECOWAS to help restore peace and order in Liberia. Nigerian troops accounted for 84 percent of the 6000 troops sent to the country. Nigeria alone contributed 10,000 troops to the ECOMOG Standing forces when they reached 12,000 in 1991, 1992, and 1993. Following the end of the country’s second civil war, Nigerian peacekeepers were sent to supervise a ceasefire deal formed under the UN Mission in Liberia (UNSMIL) in September 2003.

This Big Brother spirit was manifested in the struggle that led to the collapse of South Africa’s apartheid regime in 1991 and prevented the “democratic recession” that would have resulted in a major disaster in Africa when the then-President of Gambia, Mr. Yahya Jammeh, decided not to hand over power to his successor, President Adama Barrow, in 2017. Most of the ECOMOG’s victories in the West African sub-region and beyond would have been a pipe dream without Nigeria’s involvement. As a result, some claim that Nigeria is the salt of Africa, a country built on a hill that cannot be hidden. Unfortunately, the country known as “the salt of Africa” appears to have lost its savour, with increased instability, poverty, and economic backwardness, among other ills, sweeping the country like a whirlwind.

Poverty has eaten deep into the fabric of the country’s image.

These gloomy conditions have given the notion that Nigeria is just “beautiful outside but ugly at home.” This appears to be the best depiction of Nigeria, given the “staggering fight” against Boko Haram terrorists in the north-east and the spread of the terrorists’ web in various forms, sizes, and styles across the country’s six geographical zones. In the North-west, for example, it is referred to as bandits, whereas in the North-central, it appears to have begun with herder/farmer fights and progressed to kidnapping. It appears to take the form of unknown gunmen in the south-east, oil theft in the south-south, and ritual slaughter in the south-west. This is exacerbated by chronic poverty, which is pushing the country towards a failed state.

Poverty appears to have eaten deeply into the fabric of the country’s image, with Nigeria consistently ranking among the top poverty-infected countries in the world. Nigeria has been dubbed the world’s poverty capital, despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to pull 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years. The most amusing aspect is that the more money poured into poverty reduction and empowerment programs, the more individuals fall into the “pit of poverty.” Currently, more than 40% of Nigerians live below the poverty line. This is anticipated to rise as a result of the country’s rising inflation rate, which has significantly lowered the purchasing power of many individuals, particularly the unemployed.

Ezulwini consensus a proposal designed by African Union.

The Ezulwini consensus is a proposal devised by the African Union to project Africa’s one view on UNSC reform. It stipulated that the continent have at least two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats. Shortly after Nigeria unofficially expressed interest in representing the continent if the plan was accepted, South Africa, to which Nigeria assisted significantly in achieving independence in 1991, expressed interest. This is hardly surprising given that all states are considered equal in the international system regardless of their shapes, sizes, strength, or years of existence. However, the display should prompt the Nigerian government to reflect on the past, assess the present, and increase efforts to diversify the country’s economy, wage a serious war against corruption, restructure the security architecture, and invest heavily in education and advanced technology so that Nigeria has something to present when the time comes for UNSC reform.

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