On February 4, 2021, President Paul BIYA granted audience to Ambassador Joseph Keshi, a special envoy of the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. At the end of this audience which lasted about fifteen minutes, the Nigerian envoy said he came "to seek Cameroon's support for Nigeria's candidacy for the post of African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security in the elections scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 2021".
Indeed, the 34th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly will be held from February 6 to 7, 2021 (which shall be held virtually, due to the Covid-19 pandemic) for the positions.
Three countries in the race
For the post of Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, Nigeria is in competition with Burundi and especially Algeria, which has been serving at this post almost since the creation of the African Union. The first to occupy the post is the current Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, diplomat Ramtane Lamamra, who handed the position to his compatriot Ismaël Chergui in 2013. Now, Algeria intends to renew the latter’s mandate.
The Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union is one of the most strategic positions in the union since the commissioner heads the "Peace and Security Council", which is responsible for "promoting peace, security, and stability in Africa.
The commission is like the secretariat of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) and deals with defense and security issues, peacekeeping and peace support operations as well as conflict prevention. It also oversees the African Union’s field missions and liaison offices, such as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the African-led International Mission in Support of the Central African Republic (MISCA), and the African Union Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL).