By Sola Isola, IBADAN
Former Nigerian Ambassador to Phillipines, Dr. Yemi Farombi, on Wednesday, called on the Federal Government to reduce the rate of appointing politicians as envoy to other nations, stating that it has an adverse effect on Nigeria’s foreign policy.
Farombi added that though it is not entirely wrong to appoint politicians, it has to be done sparingly and strategically to ensure that Nigeria’s foreign policy is not completely affected.
He stated this while speaking in Ibadan at the launching of a book titled “Nigerian Foreign Policy” by Sunday Olagunju, a former General Manager of Sketch Newspapers.
He said, “In all countries there are two parts to being an ambassador: there are seasoned career diplomats and there are those ordinary human beings who get converted to ‘His Excellency’ who are political ambassadors.
“It is not wrong to have political ambassadors, but you do it sparingly or when there is a specific need in the foreign nation for specific purposes.
“In Nigeria it has become a reward for being a good politicians and not because you have anything to offer or know the country where you are going to be posted to.
“Both the nation and the government did not know the importance of foreign relations.
“We send ambassadors out without mandates, we only name the countries they are to go.
“Nobody sets a target for an ambassador to say this is what we are expecting from you.
“Even when you complete your term as an ambassador, there is no debriefing by the ministry of foreign affairs to see what they can gain from your experience of staying there. We see everything as business as usual.”
Also speaking at the event, former Nigerian Ambassador to Moscow, Adedotun Adepoju stated that there are other countries appointing politicians as envoys as well but it is the proportion in Nigeria that is disturbing.
“Non-career officials can be appointed. There is nothing wrong in it.
“Other countries are doing it but there should not be too many of them appointed to strategic nations where there services are not needed.
“Some of them are very effective as our envoy, but priority should be given to appointing more career diplomats, those who have been trained and groomed to head missions abroad.
“The ratio should be in favour of career people. There should more career persons than the non careers,” he said.