Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has expressed optimism that the election of Nigeria’s Ambassador Bankole Adeoye as African Union Commissioner For Political Affairs, Peace and Security will strengthen the war against terrorism in West Africa.
The Foreign Minsiter said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja as the continental bloc elected the Nigerian envoy in the virtual meeting held on Saturday. Adeoye was elected unanimously with 55 votes.
Onyeama said Nigeria Government is indebted to ECOWAS Heads of state for their solidarity and all African countries for their 100% votes in favour of the Nigerian diplomat.
“Warmest congratulations to Amb Bankole Adeoye on his brilliant election as African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security,” Onyeama tweeted late Saturday evening.
“Nigeria has a lot to benefit because we can leverage more easily on the African Union to also support our fight against terrorism in West Africa, including Nigeria.
“And to support more coherently the multinational Joint Task Force of which Nigeria is a leading member, a coalition of countries against Boko Haram.
“So the very concrete benefit is that we would now be able to have greater cohesion between what the African Union is doing on peace and security and what ECOWAS and Nigeria are doing.
“And I think that is something that is not as strong as it should be now,” Onyeama said.
Onyeama described Adeoye’s election as a unique development given the fact that the ECOWAS leaders “have thrown all their weight behind him and endorsed him as ECOWAS’ candidate.”
“It has been very good, a unique situation there because all the ECOWAS countries had candidates, most of them very good candidates.
“And at the level of the Presidents of all those countries, they agreed to withdraw all their candidates and just present Nigeria almost as a sub-regional candidate for the position of political Affairs, Peace and Security.
“Now, one of the main reasons being for West Africa, Peace and Security is number one priority and they also feel that Nigeria as a country has the wherewithal to take advantage of that position as commissioner, to make a difference for not just West Africa but Africa.
Adeoye is Nigeria’s former member to the African and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). He was Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti between 2017 and 2020.
Adeoye was ranked overall best candidate in an independent assessment by the AU panel of eminent Africans.