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Defend Nigerians in Diaspora, Jonathan urges new ambassadors

By Ben Agande
Abuja—President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the newly appointed ambassadors of the country to other nations to pursue national interest in their places of postings and to defend the interests of Nigerians resident there.

While handing out letters of credence to 93 ambassadors, 88 of whom have successfully gone through the Senate screening, at the Presidential Villa, the President charged the ambassadors to see themselves as representatives of the president and not their ethnic nationalities.

President Goodluck Jonathan presenting a letter to Amb. Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu as Head of Mission to Spain as Ambassadors-Designate were presented their letters of credence in a brief ceremony at the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 12/06/2012

He said: “You are posted to your designation to represent the president and not your state or your ethnicity, and project Nigeria as a united and indivisible nation. You must encourage Nigerians abroad to have a solid unions.”

Of the diplomats who received their letters of credence, 62 of them are ambassadors while 24 are Deputy Heads of Mission. Their countries of accreditation were not made public at the occasion.

President Jonathan told the ambassadors that his decision to give prominence to career officers in the appointment of ambassadors was to enhance commitment to professional excellence.

He said economic diplomacy remains at the core of the nation’s foreign policy and protecting Nigerians and their interest in their country of accreditation must be at the forefront.

He charged the envoys to give priority to the promotion of democracy, rule of law and stability in Africa and other nations.

Jonathan said: “Today, we live in an international environment that is characterised by rapid change, intense competition, and driven by knowledge and technology.

It is an exciting world in which only the best succeed. In such an environment, only a dynamic, confident and proactive foreign service can effectively and efficiently serve Nigeria’s interests.

“As Nigeria’s window to the outside world, our diplomatic service must necessarily raise its standards to match the best globally, both in the quality of service delivery and the professionalism of its staff.

“To build and sustain a corps of staff that can excel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must accord priority to recruiting the best and ensuring the regular training of its diplomats.”


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