President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said despite mounting challenges facing nations, it was high time peace and solidarity “reign supreme” across the globe.
The President, who spoke in Paris, France at a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), said the world “has an opportunity to count gains of the organisation in the last seven and half decades, while exploring the historic moment for building solidarity and enthroning peace.”
Earlier yesterday, Buhari, while receiving the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Shaikh Shakboot Alnahyan, on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum, praised Diaspora Nigerians, saying their competitiveness “is a product of the good education acquired at home.”
At the UNESCO anniversary, Buhari canvassed global solidarity for the enthronement of peace and development.
He said: “Our world is fast changing and so are the evolving challenges. There is, therefore, no better time to canvass for solidarity for the enthronement of peace and development.
“The anniversary cautions us not to overlook our achievements and challenges of the past and present; not to overlook how our journey together has shaped our world.”
Nigeria, he said, in felicitating with UNESCO, remained proud of its close association with the organisation since its establishment.
Buhari said: “Seventy-five years of building together a more advanced, knowledgeable and prosperous world through education, science, culture, communication and information.
“Today calls to mind the words of Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO from 1987-1999 and I quote: ‘any history begins when human beings have to draw from their knowledge of the past in order to better understand the present and look ahead to the future, when they come to realise that they must look into the facts, events and trends that have pre-figured their own era.’ These are profound words, and they stand the test of time.
“As we mark UNESCO’s anniversary, we must acknowledge that it is a celebration of history; an occasion to remind ourselves of how far we have traveled, seeking to achieve the founding objectives of this great intellectual hub of the United Nations.”
The Nigerian leader further expressed happiness for being a part of the historic celebration, while congratulating UNESCO and its current leadership, for keeping the vision of the great organisation alive.
He added: “As a Member-State of UNESCO, Nigeria felicitates with all other Member-States, Associates and partners, who have walked the journey alongside UNESCO.”
‘Nigerians Competitive Abroad Due to Good Education Attained at Home’
Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday said the competitiveness which Nigerians display abroad “is a result of the good education they acquired before travelling out of the country.”
This is as he urged Nigerians in Diaspora to always abide by the rules of their host countries.
The President said this when he met with the Minister of State Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, Shaikh Shakboot Alnahyan, on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum.
Buhari said: “Nigerians are all over the place, very competitive. And the competitiveness starts from home, where they have acquired good education, gone into businesses, and then take all that abroad.”
The President encouraged Nigerians in Diaspora to “subject themselves to the rules and standards of the country in which they live, either as working class, or doing businesses.”
He welcomed the offer by UAE to partner with Nigeria in the areas of renewable energy, agriculture, infrastructure logistics, and provision of vaccines to further control the COVID-19 pandemic.
On his own part, Alnahyan said his country “thinks very highly of President Buhari’s leadership,” noting that the Nigerian leader “is striving to build a better future for generations to come.”
He said there were many Nigerians in his country “who add much value,” assuring that the headwinds of the recent past in the relationship “are now behind us.”
Alnahyan said: “We want to secure, deepen and strengthen the association for the future. We have a lot in common. We may be taking small steps, but they are leading somewhere.”
On proposed investments in Nigeria, Alnahyan said it would be a win-win situation, “which would bring hope and opportunities for people in both countries; we want to come and add quality and value.”
The Minister equally commended the Nigerian government for its robust tackling of violent extremism.
Deji Elumoye in Paris, France