THE African Union (AU) Executive Council has finally given Nigeria the nod to jostle for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) non-permanent member seat.
Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, is one of the 75 current and former heads of state including 15,000 other invited guests streaming into the Ethiopian capital for the 21st Ordinary session of the AU.
But there is more work to be done in the aftermath of the AU endorsement of Nigeria’s candidacy of the UNSC.
Before the elections proper in October in New York, where she would need two-third of votes by members to secure the seat, Nigeria has to move swiftly to lobby other regional groupings for support. The African group has the highest number of countries (54).
The other regional groupings include Asia-Pacific group (53), Eastern European Group (23), Latin America and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), (33), and Western European and other Group (WEOG) (28) + One observer member state.
Speaking to the Nigerian media at the end of a series of meetings, Foreign Affairs minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, noted that AU’s endorsement was unanimous, stressing that, “Usually once you have got your regional endorsement, the journey is easier. What the countries will ask for is reciprocal support. The UNSC is the highest legislative body in the world.”
Asked about the possible hurdles ahead, especially as Nigeria exited the seat not too long ago, even producing the Council’s president (Professor Joy Ogwu) in July 2010, the minister said, “I do not foresee any region to be problematic. Nigeria has been there before. This will be the first time we will go there in quick succession. Work begins because even countries that want to go in five or 10 years time are already campaigning.”