NIGERIA - AFRICAN UNION(AU) RELATIONS
Nigeria has continued to play a leadership role in the African Union. This was demonstrated by her early recognition of the Transitional Government in Libya and the firm stance on the situation in Cote d'lvoire. Participation in the programmes of the Union continued to be accorded top priority consideration in Nigeria's external engagement. Accordingly, President Jonathan attended the 17th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government which took place in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea from 23 June to 1 July 2011. He also participated at the 18th Session of the Assembly which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012. On the margins of the Summit, the 16th Assembly of the African Peer Review Forum appointed nine (9) members, including Professor Okon Uya of Nigeria to serve on the Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons.
Similarly, Nigeria participated actively at the 19th ordinary Session of the AU which took place in Addis Ababa In Ethiopia in July 2012. One of the major highlights of the Summit was the election of the new Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the South African Home Affairs Minister,Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Nigeria had supported the incumbent Dr. Jean Ping to serve another ten:n based on the time-honoured principle that the biggest five (5) financial contributing members of the AU-Algeria, Egypt, Libya. Nigeria, and South Africa should not vie for the top most position of the organization. This was an understanding intended to promote inclusiveness, solidarity, cohesion and unity of the African Union such that smaller members would feel a sense of belonging and not intimidated by the Big Five.
Although the South African candidate won the hotly contested election, Nigeria was unequivocal that she would not lend her support to South Africa in the latter's bid for the Chairmanship of the AU Commission. In is instructive to note that Nigeria made impressive gains at the Summit as follows:
a. A Nigerian, Ambassador (Dr.) Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, who is Nigeria's Principal Envoy to Guinea Conakry, was elected to the post of Commissioner for political Affairs. Her election was a significant achievement, since the founding of the AU, and its predecessor, formerly the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), this was the first time a Nigerian would be elected to this strategically important position. She scored over the two-thirds majority of 35 votes out of 50 AD member states that voted at the election;
b.Nigeria's delegatiecured the endrsement of Dr. Kanayo Felix Nwanze for re-election as President of the Intrnational Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD);
c..Another Nigerian, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, also secured the endorsement of the AU for election into the post of President the Executive Council the International Civil Aviation Organisatin (ICAO). These elections are scheduled thld in 2013;
d. In addition, another Nigerian Dr. Kolawole Aduloju, was elected Assistant Secretary General fthe Pan-African Postal Union a hotly contested election;
e. In June 2012 Honurable Bethel Amadi, a member the Nigerian House of Representative, emerged as the President of the Pan-African Parliament in a keenly-contested election; and
f. Mrs. Theodora Oby Nwankwo was endorsed by the AU for election to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Aforms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW).