CLOSING REMARKS BY THE PERMANENT SECRETARY MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MR GABRIEL ADUDA AT THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE INDUCTION EXERCISE FOR AMBASSADORS- DESIGNATE, CDAs AND CONSULS-GENERAL ON 18TH FEB, 2021
Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon, Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen. As we come to the end of this three -day Induction Programme for Ambassadors-Designate, CDAs and Consuls-General,
- Let me congratulate you once again for your well-deserved appointments which no doubt, was informed by your track record of hard work and service to the nation. It would be recalled that this journey began sometime in July 2020, with Mr. President’s nomination, and now we stand on the verge of a new era.
- The essence of this induction course has been to familiarize Ambassadors-designate with the terrain of representational duties at what might be considered one of the highest echelons of national assignment. In the course of this exercise, we have been apprised with Nigeria’s position on key contemporary bilateral and multilateral issues and strategies in engaging with our partners on how to navigate successfully through emerging diplomatic terrain as most of you are venturing into soon.
- The Ministry engaged outstanding facilitators and resource persons to sensitize you on diplomatic skills required in the discharge of your duties towards the implementation of Nigeria’s foreign policy. There is no doubt in my mind that the combination of your individual wealth of experience and knowledge gained from this exercise, has set you on course towards the fulfilment of your responsibilities in the projection and execution of Nigeria’s Foreign policy in your respective countries of accreditation.
- It is pertinent to reiterate the importance of our soft power diplomacy, the aid diplomacy under the platform of TAC, DTAC etc which the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs alluded to during his welcome remarks. I use this opportunity of my closing remarks to remind, particularly those of you that would serve in TAC recipient countries to explore every opportunity to reinvigorate, promote and sustain this critical arm of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy. This is essential considering its accruing benefits in terms of entrenching our beliefs, culture, constructing and winning a future generation that will naturally identify with the course of Nigeria in the recipient countries of Africa, Caribbean, pacific (ACP) and beyond. Achieving these futuristic foreign policy goals is also in line with the national determination for effective and visible representation at all levels of diplomatic landscape. I must emphasize that TAC in particular, is an effective foreign policy instrument/platform for defending and projecting Nigeria national interest and in realizing its development aspiration. It also has its internal benefits as it exposes Nigerian professionals to emerging issues and best practices which the country so much desires for reshaping & sharpening of its development tools, against reducing the programme to the narrow view of employment platform.
- We must remain committed to taking bold steps to transform our country as we work to support Mr. President’s economic growth and diversification plans through promotion of real Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), particularly within the development-oriented industries in such sectors as agriculture, manufacturing/production, infrastructure, mining, tourism, ICT, and oil & gas in line with the policy of localization.
The African Continental Free Trade Area is a huge opportunity just as it is also a challenge, how it plays for us as a nation is dependent on how best we position to take advantage of our size in population and market. Those of you that will serve in Africa have a responsibility to ensure that Nigeria takes full advantage of the AfCFTA to grow its economy, manufacturing and export potential in all ramifications. As Ambassadors, we must therefore do all that is within our powers to promote, protect and defend our national economic and diplomatic interest, while projecting a positive image for the country.
- We have in these few days tried to groom and equip you for representational duties. As you commence your duty tours, it is important to reiterate the core areas of focus to guide you in the implementation of your respective station charters, especially as it impacts on citizens protection and services, Nigerians abroad must find your mission stations their conducive second homes, they must be received and treated with dignity at all times and their interested must be fully legitimately protected at all times. We will do our best from the head quarters to support you with all the necessary capabilities to deliver on this onerous assignment.
As heads of missions we will demand accountability, prudence, professionalism and tact from you, in the management of human, material and financial resources. The procurement law, the BPP Act 2007 holds supreme in your missions and must be strictly observed while undertaking expenditure in your various stations.
We are currently working on a reporting mechanism, the Station Charter Annual Performance Evaluation Report (SCAPER) for Heads of Mission. This will help us track your progress and determine the value that you bring to the table you all will receive this as soon as we are done fine tuning the document.
We will also work to reinstate the annual Regional Heads of Mission Seminar for exchange of ideas, experience, information and peer assessment.
As you proceed, please do harness the requisite capacities that have been shared during this induction exercise to respond decisively to evolving narratives as needs shall arise.
- On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the Management and the entire Staff of the Ministry, I wish to thank the resource persons for Your lectures. Your lectures have been very insightful, revealing and educative. Unarguably, every participant has immensely benefited from your wealth of knowledge and experiences. I wish to also extend our sincere appreciation to all our discussants who have also performed wonderfully in further cross fertilization of ideas on the topical issues. Some of our former Ambassadors came on board at very short notice and have taken time out of their very important schedules to contribute immensely to this workshop. We sincerely appreciate your sense of duty and patriotism to our dear Nation.
- We owe a debt of gratitude particularly to the DG NIA, Management and staff of NIA for providing a conducive environment for the smooth facilitation of the Induction Programme. And the Philips Consulting Limited for your invaluable facilitation and piecing all these together.
- As you depart to your various missions, may the Lord guide, guard, engrace and protect you all. I thank you for your kind attention.