Opinion: Nigeria’s Permanent Seat in United Nations Security Council – By FEMI OLUWASANMI

UN image

The paradigm shift occasioned by Russia -Ukraine conflict in the international order has resonated the call for United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s reform in order to adequately respond to the challenges across the globe and adapt to the geopolitical realities of the 21st century. This raises a prospect for African continent in the quest for permanent membership of the council. However, the possibility of Nigeria ascending this position is a concern that continues to generate questions putting into consideration the current state of the country.

President of the United States of America, Joe Biden had before the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 21st September, 2022, affirmed the support of the United States (US) for an expansion in the number of the permanent and non-permanent members of the UNSC, particularly, the inclusion of countries from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean to the council.
Admitting more members from Africa will bring the organization closer to the people and reduce the feeling of marginalization of the continent on the global stage. However, the question begging for an answer is: which country from the continent has the capacity to ascend and join the US, United Kingdom (UK), France, Russia and China on the permanent seat of the UNSC?
For several years Nigeria has been contributing to the UN peace keeping mission across the globe. Her contributions to peace and security in Africa cannot be overemphasized especially in the restoration of peace to Liberia, Gambia, among others.
In 1990, Nigeria led a joint military intervention force, the Economic Community Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), deployed by ECOWAS to help restore peace, and order in Liberia. Out of the 6000 troops that were sent to the country, Nigerian troops accounted for the 84 percent.
Between 1991, 1992 and 1993, when the ECOMOG Standing troops rose to 12,000, Nigeria alone contributed 10,000 troops. The same was replicated following the conclusion of the second Civil War in the country when Nigerian peacekeepers were deployed to monitor a ceasefire agreement established under the UN Mission in Liberia (UNSMIL) in September 2003.
This Big Brother spirit was made manifest in the struggle that led to the collapse of apartheid regime in South Africa in 1991 and prevented the “democratic recession” that would have resulted to a great catastrophe 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.
Without the contribution of Nigeria, most of the successes recorded by the ECOMOG within the West Africa sub-region and beyond would have been a mere dream. That is why some have argued that Nigeria is the salt of Africa, a country set on a hill which can not be hidden. Unfortunately, the country that is described as “the salt of Africa seems to have lost her savor” with the worsened insecurity, poverty, economic backwardness among other malaises spreading like a whirlwind across the country.
These doldrums have created an impression that Nigeria is only “beautiful abroad but ugly at home.” This seems to be the best description of Nigeria looking at the  “staggering war” against Boko Haram terrorist in the North East and the expansion of the terrorist web in different forms, sizes, and styles across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
At the North West for instance, it is called Bandit, while at the North Central it appears to start with herder/farmers clashes and graduated to kidnapping. In the South East it seems to be taking the shape of unknown gun men while in the South South it is manifesting in the form of oil theft and in the South West it is seen as ritual killing. This is further worsened by the chronic poverty pushing the country towards the path of a failed State.
Poverty seems to have eaten deep the fabric of the country’s image with the continuous rating of Nigeria among the top poverty infected countries of world. Not too long ago, Nigeria was named the poverty capital of the world despite the promise made by President Mohammadu Buhari to uplift hundred million of Nigerians out of poverty in ten (10) years.
The funniest part of it is, the more money is pumped into poverty alleviation and empowerment programmes the more people fall into the “pit of poverty.” Currently, more than 40 percent of people living in Nigeria are living below poverty line. This is likely to increase because of the growing inflation rate that has drastically reduced the purchasing power of many, particularly, the underemployed people in the country.
The inability of the government to tamed this has crumble many small and medium scale businesses thereby aggravating the crisis of unemployment serving as “supply chain for the work shop of the micro nationalists and war lords masquerading as messiah.”
No wonder, the more budget is made on security, the more the news of insecurity and agitation for secession continue to dominate the media space. Though, this seems not to be peculiar to Nigeria alone looking at the vortex of crisis across the globe. However, what seems to be different is the in ability of the government to bring to justice the perpetuators in most cases.
This abysmal performance could reduce the chances of Nigeria in ascending to the permanent seat of the UNSC by giving opportunity to countries which ordinarily wouldn’t have contested Nigeria’s interest in the permanent seat of UNSC the opportunity to do so. This can be deduced from the display that followed the adoption of the Ezulwini Consensus by African Union in 2005.
Ezulwini consensus is a proposal designed by African Union to project the common position of Africa on the UNSC’s reform. It demanded at least two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats for the continent. Shortly after Nigeria unofficially show interest to represent the continent should the proposal be accepted, the South Africa which Nigeria contributed greatly to her independence in 1991 started showing interest.
Though, this is not strange because all state are believed to be equal at the international system regardless of their shapes, sizes, strength and years of existence. But, the display ought to awaken Nigerian government to look at the past, evaluate the present and intensify effort towards the diversification of the country’s economy, wage serious war against corruption, rejig the security architecture, invest heavily in education and advanced technology so that Nigeria can have something to present when the time comes for the reform of the UNSC.
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: