Nigerian government is to review the country’s Foreign Policy to meet with the demands of contemporary times in international relations, especially to protect Nigeria’s vital national interests.
The Minister of state, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, who disclosed this during a public lecture organised by the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria, ARCAN, in Abuja under the Chairmanship of former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar said that the review was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
Ambassador Dada noted that President Buhari on assumption of office had issued Nigeria’s foreign policy framers a nine-point agenda to be executed at the ministry, with the major aim to review of the country’s foreign policy.
“The presidency has directed us to review the country’s foreign policy as part of the nine mandates given to the ministry,” according to Ambassador Dada.
He said the directive was to review the country’s foreign policy was as a result of global dynamism, and the need for the country to change with time.
The guest lecturer and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka, in his lecture entitled ” Nigeria’s Foreign Policy: Evolution, Trend and Prospects Since Independence”, emphasised that the time was ripe to end the foreign policy objectives of Nigeria which appear to be run like a charity.
He called for more efficient and effective approach to use foreign policy to drive Nigeria’s interests and perhaps stop the unsolicited generosity given to some countries which hardly reciprocate these kind gestures.
Ambassador Olisemeka cited the incessant killings and destruction of Nigerian businesses in South Africa and other places as indicative of the weakness in the country’s past foreign policies, adding that the current foreign policy is “too foreign” and has not sufficiently formed the complementarity of domestic and foreign policies.
“One lesson that could be drawn from all of this is that Foreign policy should never be run on a charitable basis.”
“There must be a price-tag to every effort.”
“That price, whether in goodwill, or in other terms, must be carefully calculated beforehand, demanded and fully exerted when the mission is over or when the time is ripe.”
“It is not at all, as always been argued, a moral issue as to whether one should or not expect appreciation from another country for a good turn done.”
He pointed out that there was no synergy between Nigeria’s domestic and foreign policy, saying “paradoxical as it may sound, our foreign policy is too “foreign”; far too unduly externally focused and not sufficiently internally directed.
Ambassador Olisaemeka, who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs during the military administration of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, also condemned the rush with which Nigeria and other African countries attend foreign summits organised by single countries in Europe, America and Asia, describing it as “disgustingly humiliating”.
The Nigerian former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, praised the meritorious service Ambassador Olisaemeka rendered to the nation, adding that the event was very important and timely especially when development at the global stage tasks Nigeria’s diplomacy.
President of Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria, ARCAN, Ambassador Oladapo Fofowora, lamented that inadequate funding has contributed to the general decline of the Nigeria’s foreign policy, and also for the formulation of new foreign policy to be in tandem with current global challenges.