… describes Buhari’s diplomatic policy ‘concentric’ cycle
… honours 2 Buhari’s staff that bagged Niger diplomatic award
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
THE Presidency has described the boundaries between Nigeria and her neighbours as artificial.
The Chief of Staff of to President Muhamnadu Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, stated this when he honoured two of the President’s staff, who were recently honoured by the President of Niger Republic, Mohammed Bazoum.
Prof. Gambari, at the reception that was held in the State House, described Buhari’s foreign policy as ‘concentric circle’.
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The presidential aides on whom the Nigerien highest honour were recently conferred were the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP), Lawal Kazaure, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Household and Domestic Affairs, Sarkin Ada.
Gambari said that those countries sharing borders with Nigeria, including Cameroon, Benin Republic, Chad and Niger Republic, share same interests and cultural affinities which bind them together.
According to him, “All these boundaries are very much artificial. The Europeans in Congress of Berlin just took a piece of paper and were drawing lines across places where they have never been.
“They never intended to be separated. People who should be united and uniting people.
“But the leaders of Africa decided that it’s wise to keep those boundaries artificial as they may be, because to change them other than peacefully will be creating even more problems than they can solve.
“But in any case, whether by those lines, whether artificial or not, Niger/Nigeria share common boundaries, common interests, common concerns for their families across the borders.”
Commenting on Buhari’s foreign policy, Prof. Gambari said: “In his (Buhari’s) earlier incarnation as Head of State, the defining feature of his policies was concentric circle of Nigerian foreign policy.
“That our interests, our efforts, will be concentrated on promoting Nigeria’s interests in concentric circles at the epicenter; the defense of Nigeria’s integrity, the prosperity, the welfare of its people.
“But next is the neighbouring countries, then West Africa, then Africa, and then the rest of the world.
“And he has proved the continuity of Nigeria foreign policy in this sense by the fact that the first countries he visited after being sworn in were the neighbouring countries.”
Speaking at the occasion, the State House Permanent Secretary, Tijjani Umar, congratulated the awardees, adding that the challenge of COVID-19, climate change and lately, the Russian/Ukraine war have impacted the population negatively and, as such, it has become important for countries to watch each other’s back.
He stressed that the honour conferred on the presidential aides has further strengthened the bonds between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
Responding, the SCOP, who spoke on behalf of his fellow awardee, said the international award was in recognition of the enviable strides made by the President, even as he lauded Buhari for exposing them locally and internationally.
He thanked the Chief of Staff for organising the reception in their honour.