Nigeria has decried the obsolete and old-fashioned composition of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, describing it as undemocratic.
The country’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, speaking to newsmen in New York recently, said there was urgent need to reform the body.
The Security Council is the UN’s most powerful organ with the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the UN.
It is vested with the powers to establish peacekeeping operations and impose international sanctions.
The council has the authorisation for military action through Security Council resolutions and remains the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.
However, Bande said the UN Security Council must conform to the global reality of democratic principles and lead by example.
“First of all, the fundamental question is that in the current global reality, where everybody is talking democracy, the United Nations must show example.
“Clearly, it is an anachronistic notion to have a body composed of a few countries that can veto the entirety of the global community though the council is not representative.
“It is an anomaly and I think that has been recognised but the politics of the reform not just of the UN in terms of the powers of the General Assembly and its functions,” he said.
The Nigerian envoy declared that Nigeria and some countries currently left out of the council, “rightly deserve a permanent seat on the council considering the current realities”, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
“But this journey, at the official level, started 25 years ago. Nigeria is at the forefront of that effort and doesn’t read this as a selfish move
“This (permanent seat) is the right of Nigeria and other serious nations to push and this is what other countries are also pushing.
“Be they small states which are pushing, be they Africa that has no representation, this is not something that would not go away.
“Nigeria and others are committed and we cannot have a democratic system which does not represent the majority of countries.
“Our continent is completely out of contention; whether we get two or three seats, the debate is we have to be on the Security Council,” Bande said.
The body has five permanent members – Russian, the United Kingdom, France, China and United States of America – and 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms.
The five permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolutions, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
This, the Nigerian ambassador stressed, means a few countries overruling the entirety of the global community.
“The debate is still ongoing whether it is even right to have veto power,” he said.
The Nigerian envoy, however, expressed confidence in Nigeria’s chances of getting a permanent seat on the council based on its global credentials or through the Africa’s slot.
“We have every reason to be hopeful in terms of the contributions of Nigeria to the global community since 1960. I think we have good credentials,” he said.