Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, a professor and former vice chancellor of Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, has been appointed president of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the main policy-making organ of the international body.
The assembly’s outgoing president, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, made this public on Tuesday at a press conference held in Abuja following a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. She disclosed that Bande will succeed her in the office as soon as her tenure lapses.
Until his appointment, Bande, who hails from Kebbi State, was the permanent representative of Nigeria to UN.
According to his profile made available by the UN, Bande “has had an outstanding career as a scholar and diplomat”.
“He received a B.Sc (Political Science) from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (1979); MA (Political Science), Boston University, USA (1981); and Ph.D (Political Science), University of Toronto, Canada (1987),” it stated.
Between 2000 and 2004, he served as Director-General of Le Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Dèveloppement (CAFRAD), Africa’s premier intergovernmental centre for governance reform, in Morocco.
He held the position of Director-General at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Nigeria from 2010 to 2016.
The profile added: “As Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, he worked with colleagues from all regions of the world to achieve common objectives. He served as the Vice-President of the General Assembly during the 71st session and remains active in several fora, including as Chair of the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34), Member, Advisory Board of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre and Chair of the ECOWAS Group (2018-2019).
“Professor Muhammad-Bande has also been an assessor for the National Merit Award (Nigeria) and for professorial positions in universities. He has won merit awards and honours from institutions and Governments, including the United States and China. Most notably, he is a recipient of Nigeria’s Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), one of Nigeria’s highest national honours.”
When he assumes the role, the professor will become the second Nigerian to be president of the UN General Assembly. The first was Joseph Nanven Garba, diplomat and former foreign minister, who was UNGA president between 1989 and 1990.