President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday in Abuja gave letters of credence to 93 newly appointed ambassadors with a call on them to shun ethnicity and promote national unity in their countries of assignment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ambassadors were 62 Heads of Mission, 24 Deputy Heads of Mission and seven ambassadors-in-situ, who would be domiciled in Nigeria.
President Jonathan admonished the ambassadors to project Nigeria as an indivisible national entity.
``You are the torchbearers of our vision and purposes as we engage the world. Go out and serve the nation with dedication and pride.
``And you must not forget to know that you are posted to your countries of accreditation representing the president and not your states or your ethnic nationality
``Where ever you are posted, you do all within your competence and power to make sure that you project Nigeria as a united indivisible nation and you must encourage that unity among our people in the Diaspora.
``From experience, in most countries where you have Nigerians, they have their ethnic unions.
``Yes, they are good, but they must also come together solidly as Nigerians. Because, in our travels, we talk to Nigerians, we don’t talk to the individual ethnic nationalities.
``They may form those sub-groups to enhance their economic activities, but they must be encouraged to have a solid union.
``I believe you can do that and reposition Nigeria globally as a country that has very great areas for investors to come and of course a country that is united.’’
President Jonathan also charged them to show commitment to the defense of interests of Nigerians living and operating lawfully in their countries of accreditation
He called on them to constantly engage Nigerians in the Diaspora to support and make contributions to national development, especially in the areas of finance, ICT and intellectual property.
Jonathan tasked the new envoys to attract investments to the nation and open markets to indigenous goods.
He also called on them to pursue the nation’s mandate of ensuring stability in West Africa and in other places across Africa.
President Jonathan expressed delight about the elaborate induction programme given the ambassadors and their spouses which he said had introduced them to their new roles.
Earlier in his remark, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, said the event should be regarded as government’s efforts at injecting vigour and dynamism to the nation's foreign policy.
He confirmed that all the newly appointed ambassadors had undergone all the necessary rites and norms needed to initiate them into the diplomatic group.
``From my interaction with the new ambassadors and their spouses, I get a sense that our induction programme was most beneficial and that they are now ready to hit the ground running,’’ he said.
Prominent among the 93 ambassadors are former Minister and PDP stalwart, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja, former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Chief Cornelius Oluwateru and a veteran journalist and former General Manager of NTA, Ibadan, Chief Akinyemi Farounbi
Also among the envoys are 11 women including, former Minister of Aviation, Fidelia Njeze, Mrs Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Mrs. Hadiza Mustapha, Mrs. Victoria Onipede, Mrs. Katherine Okon and Mrs Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie
Other female envoys are Mrs Matilda Kwashi, Mrs Katyen Jackden, Mrs Nonye Okpara, Sifawu Momoh and Mrs. Martine Gereng-Sen.
The Ambassadors in-situ who would be domiciled in the country are the State House Chief of Protocol, Mr. Olutola Onijala; the Presidential Liaison Officer, Alh. Abubakar Waziri and Alh. Abdulkadir Musa.
The other Ambassadors in-situ are Ridhwan Mustapha, Ozoemenam Nwobu, Sunday Omoigiade and Harrison Solaja.
In his vote of thanks on behalf of the new ambassadors, Maduekwe said they were grateful for the opportunity to represent the president.
``We will be the little Jonathan wherever we are. We will meet a more secured, more save and more prosperous nation by the time we come back,’’ he said. (NAN)