A list containing the names of prospective Nigerian Ambassadors to various countries is currently before President Bola Tinubu for consideration, The PUNCH reported on Friday.

A high-ranking official in the nation’s foreign service, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed to our correspondent that one of those being considered for the top diplomatic jobs is the Founder of Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola, who will be designated Nigeria’s ambassador to one of the world’s top three economies.

The source stated, “Yes, the President has the list and is considering it already. In fact, one of those I saw on the list is Fola Adeola, the Founder of GTB. He is being considered as the Nigerian ambassador to one of the world’s top three economies.”

Explaining the rationale for the President’s choice, the source noted that the Tinubu administration was keen on deploying technocrats and captains of industry as its front persons in foreign lands.

“There are politicians on the list I saw. But the President is reserving many of the slots for technocrats, people who have built a strong reputation in their respective fields and who have built companies employing thousands of Nigerians. We need people who can use their influence to secure deals and partnerships for the benefit of their country.

“It is not a new thing. When choosing envoys, the most developed economies send their best hands for those jobs. And Tinubu is following that path.

“For example, Adeola is an investor and is not a strange face on the foreign scene and the global business community. He knows them and they know him. And he is not the only one. You can see that this speaks of the administration’s pursuit of more Foreign Direct Investment,” said the source.

On the process followed to compile the list, it was reliably gathered that the Federal Government had set up a small committee to recommend qualified individuals to fill the ambassadorial roles.

Another source, who did not want to be named, said, “A committee was set up to make recommendations for career and political ambassadors. You see, most of the career ambassadors already know they are next for appointments. But they don’t know which country they will be sent to.

“There are countries where Nigeria has delicate political interests. For these ones, the government usually sends political ambassadors.

“If you remember, President Buhari appointed his former service chiefs as ambassadors to some African countries.”

A third source, who confided in The PUNCH, said given that the President had begun to consider the list, recommended persons would be undergoing background checks as well as other preliminary processes that proceed with such appointments.

“Ambassadorial appointments are not a piece of cake. Nobody the President appoints escapes a background check; talk more of an ambassador.

“But you see, it goes beyond security. They must dig into the professional history of those they want to appoint before those names are finally made public,” said the source.

Nigeria has 109 missions, 76 embassies, 22 high commissions and 11 consulates globally.

On September 2, 2023, President Bola Tinubu recalled all career and non-career ambassadors manning the country’s diplomatic missions, embassies and consulates globally.

A statement by Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the recall of the ambassadors, saying: “Sequel to the inquiries on the letter recalling the Nigerian ambassador to the UK, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, has clarified that all career ambassadors and non-career ambassadors have been recalled on the instructions of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

The envoys were directed to return to the country on or before October 31.

They include the 41 non-career ambassadors and 42 career ambassadors appointed by Former President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2020.

The diplomats were deployed after they were confirmed by the Senate in accordance with Section 171(2)(1c) and Subsection 4 of the 1999 Constitution.

An explainer by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that only 25 career ambassadors who had attained the retirement age and had been in public service for 35 years were recalled.

Shehu said in a statement, “What happened lately is that 25 career ambassadors, who attained the retirement age, or 35 years of public service in December 2018, were recalled. They were allowed to remain at their duty posts and given an extension, if that is the word, in view of the upcoming elections, which are now behind us.”

In the ensuing months, State governors, former ministers and other officials who served in the Buhari administration and some political associates of President Tinubu desperately lobbied for the vacant ambassadorial seats.



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