By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Ambassadors-Designate, Consuls-General, Charge’ D’ Affaires Entitre to continually project the strengths of Nigeria, showcase priorities of the government and uphold standards that will bring honour to the country.
Speaking virtually from the State House in Abuja at the Induction /Orientation Exercise For Ambassadors-Designate, Consuls-General and Charge’ D’ Affaires Entitre held at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) auditorium, the President in a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina told the diplomats to always be mindful of the policy direction of the government, particularly the nine priorities it had listed.
“You must not forget that you have been posted to your respective bilateral and multilateral Missions to represent and project Nigeria as a great and indivisible nation and a very attractive investment destination.
“In our effort to achieve realistic development oriented domestic and foreign policies, the government has identified nine (9) priority areas to guide our policy directions and thrust within the time frame of 2019-2023.
“These are: build a thriving and sustainable economy; enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; enlarge agricultural output for food security and export; attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products; expand transport and other infrastructural development; expand business opportunities, entrepreneurship and industrialization; expand access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians,’’ he said.
The President also noted that the priorities include building a system to fight corruption, improve governance and create social cohesion and improve security for all.
“I ,therefore, urge all of you to be guided by these identified priority goals, as well as your various Station Charters which highlight specific mandates and guidelines on government’s expectation. We expect you to fight hard for Nigeria and for Nigerians abroad.
“You must strive to promote trade, human capacity development, foreign direct investment and other areas of cooperation with countries at national and multilateral levels to support our national growth and development.’’
President Buhari said national and global resources had continued to shrink, a situation compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the government will continue to innovate and cope with a new norm in order to contain the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic.
He said the world must resolutely commit itself to global concerted actions to fight and defeat the common enemy together.
According to the President, “Nigeria’s diplomacy must make sufficient contributions to common global challenges on how this health pandemic can be contained and eventually defeated.
“But we must not forget that traditional challenges of terrorism, violent extremism, climate change, poverty, population explosion, hunger and other manifestations of insecurity, including cybercrimes, drug abuse, child trafficking, irregular migration as well as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which have negatively impacted Nigeria and Africa remain part of our nation’s critical challenges.
“Finally, as Principal Representatives abroad, you must therefore intensify efforts to leverage on available opportunities, as well as your goodwill to help deliver prosperity to the millions of Nigerian citizens at home and the country you are posted.’’
The President urged the envoys to attend to all Nigerian citizens who visit the Missions with utmost dignity, respect and promptness, providing necessary assistance with courtesy, commitment and efficiency.
“As Ambassadors of our country, your comportment, carriage, conduct and ability to multitask must be exemplary. Humility and firmness are attributes that can earn you and your country respect and recognition. These attributes must remain with every one of you in the fulfillment of your duties,’’ he added.
In his remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the thrust of President Buhari’s foreign policy was clearly defined since 2015 as “neighbourliness, diplomacy and engagement’’, describing it as the ‘Buhari doctrine.’
The Minister told the diplomats that the President’s foreign policy focus was also similar to that adopted by President Joe Biden of the United States, with emphasis on promoting goodwill that attracts friends to the country, enhance security and bolster the economy.
“The result of the ‘Buhari doctrine’ is that Mr. President is in good terms with all countries of the world, and this will make your jobs easier,’’ he added.