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Nigeria’s Itegboje emerges UN General Assembly special session interim president

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The United Nations has appointed the Charge d’Affaires, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Ambassador Samson Itegboje, as the Interim President for the General Assembly’s Special Session on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

He is to put the modalities in place to convene the 31st Special Session of the General Assembly effective July 10, 2020. However, a date for the event, to be held via video teleconferencing, is yet to be announced.

The convening of the session followed a request by Azerbaijan, on behalf of the member-states of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group, which at their May 2020 meeting, called for a swift response to the scourge.

A special session of the United Nations General Assembly is a mini gathering to deal with pressing matters, and in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Nations Charter provides for such events. “Special sessions shall be convoked by the Secretary-General at the request of the Security Council, or of a majority of the members of the United Nations,” it stated.

Consequently, the reigning scribe, Antonio Guterres, has informed members of the development after a more than two-thirds majority concurrence.
In a letter to the member-states, Itegboje has proposed that the General Assembly elects Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria as the President of the General Assembly.

Muhammad-Bande is currently the President of the 74th (regular) session of the General Assembly following his election in 2019.He also informed them that the Credentials Committee of the 31st special session should have the same membership as the 74th regular session of the Assembly.

They are Barbados, Botswana, China, Mauritius, Nepal, Russia, San Marino, United States of America, and Uruguay. In a similar vein, the House of Representatives has backed former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her bid to become Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) from 2021-2025.

Adopting a motion sponsored by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu during plenary, the lawmakers urged the two other contestants from Egypt and Kenya to step down for the Nigerian to enhance her chances.

The chamber, therefore, resolved to reach out to the governments of Egypt and Kenya to work for a single candidate in the interest of the African continent.

It also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to further rally other African leaders to support Okonjo-Iweala for the position.


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