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NIGERIA’S QUEST FOR UNITED NATION’S SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT.
A MYTH OR REALITY
At the end of World War II, the United Nations was born with the Big Five negotiating them into the Security Council which is the most powerful organ of the U.N.O. But since 1955 there had been clamour for changes and reforms of the UN especially the Security Council which is regarded by many as a prestigious exclusive club. The calls for reforms increased with the collapse of the USSR in the 1990s. This made the United States too powerful and many times going against the decisions of the Security Council especially in the area of collective security as in Iraq. The UN Panel emplaced to propose some reforms came up with two models which we highlighted. These proposals were to make the UN more democratic and more representative of the diverse peoples and continents of the world. In the light of the proposals which seek to give Africa two permanent seats, Nigeria indicated her interest in securing either of the seats. We strongly supported Nigeria’s bid.
The UNO came into being in 1945, that is, at the end of World War II. The negotiations which saw the birth of the body took into considerations the role played by the major victorious allies in the war. As part of the booties of victory, they negotiated themselves into the Security Council which is the United Nations’ most powerful organ of the UN because of the veto power wielded by its members. It is charged with maintaining peace and security between nations. Chapter 7 of the Charter empowers it to enforce the decisions of the body. It has the power to make compelling decisions on member governments. It has 15 members made up of five permanent members with the veto and double veto; Peoples Republic of China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United states of America; and 10 other elected non – permanent members that run for two years. It was this world body that Nigeria at independence on October 1, 1960 gladly waited to be admitted into because she saw it as an organisation for multilateral diplomacy and for service. So when eventually she was admitted into the United Nations on October 7, 1960, the then Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in his address to the General Assembly captured the country’s feeling when he stated that: “We in Nigeria honestly believe in the principles of the United Nations… we feel an immense responsibility to the world, we see nation wrangling with nation and we wonder how we can help” (Balewa 1960). Therefore, when the time became ripe, in line with national interest and the desire to serve at the highest level, Nigeria’s quest for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council is not misplaced. With global politics becoming more dynamic and complex, there follow in its wake the clamour for democratisation and better regional representation. And Nigeria in conjunction with a host of other countries feels strongly in the 21st century that the UN is very ripe for some reforms especially the Security Council which should be enlarged to accommodate the different regions of the world; and that she (Nigeria) is the best qualified to represent the region of Africa judging from some of the criteria outlined later in the paper. (Adeniji 2005; Gambari 1997; Akinterinwa 2005 etc.) also hold this view. There has been clamour for reforms at the UN, particularly for an increase in the number of permanent members of the UNSC to make it more democratic and representative of the diverse peoples of the world. This clamour for reform is not new; infect these calls for changes date back to 1955 that is barely 10 years after the UN came into force. As it is, or as it should be, initiating reforms for an organization normally evolved from observed problems. This exactly fits into the UN structure and operations since its inception in1945. Some of the problems border on the overbearing influence of the US with the use of the veto and her growing military and diplomatic power. This octopus hand of the US has empirically been displayed from the 1990s with the collapse of state socialism in Eastern Europe and her almost sole effort in the gulf war against the UN’s wish. The reform as envisaged could also be attributed to the frustration of a third world Secretary – General whose peaceful approach to issues has always been hijacked by military solution of the western powers coordinated and sponsored by the US.
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The criteria contained in the high level panel on “Threats, Challenges and Change” (A/59/565) (U.N Doc. 2005) concerning the reform of the Security Council are:
a. They should, in honouring article 23 of the charter, increase the involvement in decisionmaking of those who contribute most to the United Nations financially, military and diplomatically, specifically in terms of contributions of United Nations assessed budgets, participation in mandated peace operations, contributions to voluntary activities in support of the United Nations objectives and mandates. Among developed countries, achieving or making substantial progress towards the international agreed level of 0.7 percent of GNP of ODA should be considered an important criteria of contribution .
b. They should bring into the decision – making process countries more representative of the broader membership, especially of the developing world.
c. They should not impair the effectiveness of the Security Council.
d. They should increase the democratic and accountable nature of the body. On the initiative of the then AU, Chairman, Olusegun Obasanjo, African leaders at the AU summit had settled for the first option, worked towards two-consensus candidates (the Ezulwin consensus in Swaziland, February 2005) to avoid rancour and give Nigeria a smooth ride. This was done consequent upon the US interest for Egypt and South Africa. This consensus building became threatened at the July 2005 AU Sirte summit where the countries jostling for the seats rose from four, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa to eight, with Gambia, Kenya, Senegal and Libya joining the race. Eventually, Nigeria evolved serious consultation, lobbying, and compromises which informed Heads of State and Government to formally request the UN General Assembly to accept the expansion of the Security Council and the Africa’s demand for at least two permanent seats. On July 25, 2005, Nigeria’s then Foreign Minister, Olu Adeniji alongside the foreign ministers of South Africa, Libya and Egypt with other interest groups in new York met in London with members of G4, Brazil, Germany, Japan and India and this meeting led to a slight change on the part of Nigeria. This was like favouring option B which G4 seems to have been orchestrating. Egypt accused Nigeria of a sell-out of a mutually agreed position.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
President Jonathan said Nigeria had always lived up to its international obligations whenever it occupied the Council’s non-permanent seat. He also called for speedy democratization of the Security Council. Now the main question is; Does Nigeria really have what it takes to get a seat in the UN security council.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
In the course of his address to General Assembly of the United Nations in New York last week, President Goodluck Jonathan canvassed for a seat for Nigeria on the Security Council in the 2014—2015 session. He told the opening of the 68th session of the General Assembly that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union had already endorsed Nigeria for the position. The main aim of this study is to underline the possibilities of this quest and carry out a feasibility study on the factors necessary to achieve this quest and the problem that may hinder Nigeria from reaching this goal.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Is Nigeria really ripe for a seat in the UN security council
What are the factors that may hinder Nigeria from getting this seat
Is the Nigeria economic and security situations a plus or minus in its quest.
What factors will affect the quest for this seat.
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H1: Nigeria’s quest for a seat in the UN security council is a achievable and a great move in the right direction.
H2: Nigeria is not yet ripe for a seat in the UN security council.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Nigeria recently played a significant role in quashing the obnoxious precedent that was about to be set in Togo when the late President Gnassingbe Eyadema died and the military guys, in glaring contravention of constitutional provisions, installed his son as the successor. Added to the fact that Nigeria itself is now a democracy in spite of a long history of militocracy, the country’s interventions in these three African countries represent quite an impeccable credential for the country as an emerging vanguard for democracy and rule of law in the continent. The question of debt overhang which has continued to be a major nightmare of most third world countries particularly African countries has also been assiduously tackled by the country over the last six years. Nigeria has spearheaded the campaign for debt relief and or outright cancellation with all the vociferousness it could muster. The campaign has been effectively carried to the doorsteps of the western creditor nations and their institutions like the Paris and London clubs. Recently, such efforts have started yielding positive results at least with the decision of the European Union to forgive the debt of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) of which African countries are in the majority. Even though Nigeria itself is yet to directly benefit from the concessions, the indirect benefit that accrues to it from this is the reaffirmation of its leadership clout in the continent since the credit for the realised concessions largely goes to it. On the other hand, if the words of the World Bank governor Paul Wolfowitz are anything to go by, in the foreseeable future, the country’s $34b debt profile might be reduced to a mere $6b. If this materializes, it will amount to killing two birds with one stone. Furthermore, Nigeria’s concerted efforts in making a case for African emancipation from the shackles of poverty, illiteracy, and underdevelopment at world level has began to yield some positive results. For example, the recent establishment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which are geared towards halving the poverty level in Africa by the year 2015 is a case in point. Also, the establishment of the African Commission by the British Government to address the development question in Africa is largely attributed to this. Whether these initiatives, workout in the end or not, the fact remains that with a megaphone like Nigeria in the Security Council of the United Nations new grounds shall be broken that will pave way for sustainable growth and development in Africa.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Neither is Nigeria the friend of the United States, the other Anglophone permanent member of the Security Council. At the U.S.-Nigeria Trade and Investment Forum organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation of the Americas (NIDOA) in Washington DC in 2012, Obama acknowledged Nigeria as a strategic centre of gravity in Africa, even proclaiming the country the world’s next economic giant. However, on the two occasions that he visited Africa, Obama pointedly refused to come to Nigeria, perhaps for security reasons. The main purpose of this study is to point out those features that keep lingering the position on Nigeria in the international community.
- LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Some of the limitations of this study include external validity, or the generalizability of the study. There were only 13 participants who participated in the complete study, and each participant was a college-degreed professional residing in the mid-west area of the Nigeria. In addition, the participants were all middle to upper middle class adults without learning disabilities.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Because of national differences in the characteristics that distinguish urban from rural areas, no definition has been established that would be applicable to all countries. Therefore, national definitions are mainly used in compiling these data. National definitions commonly classify towns and cities larger than, for example, 1,000 or 2,000 population as urban.
Urban growth rate
The total increase in population in urban areas over a given year divided by the total urban population at the beginning of the year, expressed as a percentage.
Average annual quantities over a multi-year period of rain, snow, etc. falling to the ground, as compiled by the World Meteorological Organization.
Release of primary and secondary energy from all sources of energy including transformation of primary sources. The total is based on inland deliveries of energy commodities and is expressed in terms of coal equivalent, which is a single average figure for the energy content of a specified quantity of coal.
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