As the General Debate of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly was underway Tuesday in New York, I looked at the platform at a particular time, and it was Nigeria all the way. President Muhammadu Buhari was making his presentation as the fifth speaker. The President of the Assembly was Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, a Nigerian, while the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, a Nigerian, was also seated. It was really good time to be Nigerian.
President Buhari, ever a time disciplinarian, kept strictly to the 15 minutes allotted to him. Of the four presidents that spoke earlier, only one had shown fidelity to time. The others didn’t care a hoot.
It’s one thing for a speech to be good, it’s another thing for it to be well delivered. The Nigerian President had a good speech, and he also delivered it quite well.
Here are 10 things to note about the speech of Mr President at the UN General Assembly:
-A developed Africa is no threat to industrialized countries but will become friends and partners in greater prosperity for the rest of the world.
-No threat is more potent than poverty and exclusion. They are the foul source from which common criminality, insurgency, cross-border crimes, human trafficking and its terrible consequences draw their inspiration.
-Poverty remains one of the greatest challenges facing our world. Its eradication is an indispensable requirement for achieving sustainable development.
-In 2019 general elections, Nigerians backed the politics of tolerance, inclusion and community over the politics of protest and division.
-Major tech networks should not continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of tearing countries apart.
-Only collective action can deliver genuine results against organized criminal networks.
-The present Nigerian government is facing the challenges of corruption head-on.
-We are giving notice to international criminal groups by the vigorous prosecution of the P&ID scam attempting to cheat Nigeria of billions of dollars.
-War leaves terrible legacy of destruction and broken lives. I witnessed it as a young soldier.
-We are committed to strengthening partnerships and cooperation with international and regional organizations for the benefit of humanity.
The speech received wide applause from both Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike. The brotherhood of man was on display.
After the presentation at the General Debate, President Buhari still attended two more events. First was the High Level Side Event organized by Nigeria on SDGs, while the other was a High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development under the auspices of the General Assembly.
At the SDGs event organized by Nigeria, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina of the African Development Bank (AfDB) spoke, and said it was a very good time to be Nigerian. Nobody there could really disagree. It was Nigeria’s day to truly dance in the sun.
Umu uwa Kwenu (hee)
Umu uwa Kwenu (hee)
Kwenu (hee) Kwenu (hee)
Onyeka Onwenu got it right long ago.
Femi Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity