Nigeria yesterday secured 186 votes to join Saudi Arabia, Chile, Chad and Lithuania to replace Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo to serve a two-year term on the 15-nation United Nations Security Council from January 1, 2014.
All five countries stood unopposed in an election by the 193-member UN General Assembly.
The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, who all have veto powers, have permanent seats on the Security Council. The other 10 seats which have no veto power, are awarded for two year periods by the General Assembly, which holds a vote every year for five of the seats. This year was the first time since 2009 that there was no contested seat.
Lithuania won 187 votes, Chile and Nigeria each picked 186 votes, Chad secured 184 votes and Saudi Arabia 176 votes.
Gambia had been challenging Nigeria, which was on the council in 2010-2011. The small West African country withdrew last week in face of Nigeria's diplomatic weight.
Lithuania will take Azerbaijan's place for Eastern Europe. As a member of the European Union and NATO its accession will reinforce the western group on the Security Council. Its 187 votes were the most secured by any country in yesterday's election. Chile takes over from Guatemala. This will be its fifth term on the council, the last in 2003-2004. It will be Saudi Arabia's first time in the council.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has welcomed Nigeria's election into a non-permanent seat of the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati, in a statement yesterday, said: "On behalf of the federal government and people of Nigeria, President Jonathan wishes to convey his sincere appreciation of the support of all member-countries of the United Nations who voted for Nigeria's election to the Security Council."
According to Abati, Jonathan believes that the endorsement of Nigeria's candidature for the Security Council seat by the vast majority of member-countries is a glowing expression of support and encouragement for Nigeria's active participation in the promotion of peace, security and political stability in Africa and other parts of the world.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described Nigeria's winning of UN Security Council seat as an unprecedented feat and a testament to the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration.
The party in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh said the development has clearly shown that the world recognizes the efforts of the present administration in repositioning the country.
In her reaction, the Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Joy Ogwu, expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the election and assured that Nigeria would promote preventive diplomacy for peace as a fulcrum of its agenda at the council.