A former Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Professor Akinjide Osuntokun has advised the federal government to always consider few knowledgeable experts as country’s delegates to the United Nations.
Professor Osuntokun gave the advice at the opening plenary of the recently concluded first Covenant International Model United Nations Conference (CIMUN 2019) hosted by Covenant University, Ota.
Osuntokun delivered a keynote address at the event which had, “Restructuring the Future through Innovative Ideas,” as its theme. He noted that the Nigerian delegates to the United Nations should not be restricted to members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or National Assembly.
“We have experts in the universities, ministries and press who should be members of the delegation. The idea that Senators and members of the House of Representatives should go to the UN is totally unreasonable. It doesn’t happen in other countries. So the delegation must be professionals and small in number so that whatever they say will be from experience,” he explained.
Osuntokun also expressed hope that the young people who constituted delegates at the Model United Nations would eventually find their ways into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Press, Presidency, Ministry of Finance, and Defence, so that whenever issues about United Nations are discussed, they would contribute from experience.
Also, in his keynote address titled, “Daring to Engage in Disruptive Innovations,” the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant, Professor AAA. Atayero, represented by the Head, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Professor Sheriff Folarin, stated that it was the long history of the successful participation and winning of laurels at various MUN by Covenant since 2007 that engendered the hosting of the conference.
“Covenant University is glad to host its first Model United Nations Conference. But, we do not want it to go the way others have gone. We want to see mathematics translate to life-matics during and after this conference. It must not be another mere show of brightness by the students, but the translation of brightness to the brightening of the world. It is the desire of the University to see innovative ideas and human developers, who will change their world in the nearest future, emerge from this conference,” he advised.
The UN Secretary-General, Anthonio Guterres’ message to the delegates was read by the Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) for Nigeria, Mr. Ronald Kayanja. He called for the empowering of young people around the world. “We must do more to enable young people to shape the discussions affecting their lives. Your potential is the world’s potential. As you stand up for our shared values, the United Nations stands with you,” he promised.
The Model United Nations is a simulation of how the United Nations works, especially how decisions are reached by key UN organs such as the General Assembly, Security Council, International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In its over 70 years of existence, Model UN has grown to become the pride of students and their institutions across the world. It is estimated that more than 400, 000 students worldwide participate every year in MUNs at secondary and tertiary educational levels while many of today’s leaders were once MUN delegates as students.
Other dignitaries at the plenary included the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Akan Williams; the Chaplain, Pastor Kayode Martins; Professor Yomi Akinyeye of the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos; MUN President, Honour Andikara; MUN Secretary-General, Kehinde Ifeoluwa; Deans of Colleges and Directors in Covenant University.