Nigeria has expressed support for the second term ambition of the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland.
Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.
Onyeama said President Muhammadu Buhari expressed Nigeria’s position on Thursday to the Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, who had come to lobby for support for Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson, vying for the same position
Johnson has reportedly been endorsed by two influential members of the Commonwealth, the United Kingdom and India.
But at a bilateral meeting with Holness in Kigali, the Nigerian leader expressed satisfaction with the leadership style and performance of the Scotland, the Dominican Republic incumbent.
Oyeama said that Buhari appreciated Scotland’s efforts at championing of the values of the Commonwealth.
Besides, Nigeria has benefitted significantly from the leadership of Scotland, Buhari had reportedly told Holmes at the bilateral meeting.
Meanwhile, in her opening address to delegates on Friday in Kigali, Scotland promised to hand over ‘a stronger, more effective, more powerful’ Commonwealth to an African when the office rotates to Africa two years from now.
Giving an overview of her stewardship in the last six years, Scotland said: ‘‘Together, we have been friends in good times and in bad. Voices for the voiceless. Advocates for development and progress. We have laid the foundations for transformational change.
‘‘And I am determined that, when the role of Secretary-General rotates to Africa two years from now, I will hand on the baton with a stronger, more effective, more powerful Commonwealth than ever before.
‘‘I have an unshakeable belief that we can take Commonwealth to new heights, to hold our values ever-closer, and set an example for the whole world.’’
Her remarks are significant because if she does not get a second term, she may very likely not be handing over to African in the next two years.
She would have completed her second two-year tenure by this year but CHOGM was postponed twice due to COVID-19, so an election has been slated to hold at this Kigali summit.
The ballots are usually cast by the heads of government if there is no consensus candidate among them.
According to diplomats familiar with the workings of the 54-member association, the incumbent faces opposition from influential UK and India, but has the backing of many African members who are in the majority.