Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
As President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term in office draws to a close, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that one of the achievements of the nation’s foreign policy under the administration is peace with all nations of the world.
Onyeama stated this in Lagos during the graduation and closing ceremony of the 23rd Regular Course of the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy featuring 101 persons.
Onyeama said as a result of the foreign policy achievement on peace, Nigeria became a country with no natural enemy.
He added that Nigeria was committed to forging peace and stability among African and other countries of the world, even as he said Nigeria is one of the friendliest countries in the comity of nations.
“When I am often asked about what we have achieved in foreign policy, I always said that it is not an academic exercise foreign policy. It is about concrete result, about real action and not about flamboyance.
“And what we have done and that we are always unique in the world is that we have no natural enemy as a country.
“We are friendly with all the countries of the world and that in itself, is a huge achievement to be able to live at peace with all countries and putting it as an important component of our foreign policy.
“We believe in dialogue and diplomacy as a means of conflict resolution and this is why so many countries want Nigeria to be part of whatever they are doing, to promote peace in a particular area,” Onyeama said.
He further said that going by the nation’s foreign policy administration, Nigeria succeeded in establishing herself as a country that loves peace and stability.
He urged the graduating foreign service officers to be good representatives of Nigeria wherever they would be posted around the world.
Onyeama further urged them to be selfless and positively project the good image of Nigeria and Africa to the rest of the world.
He added that Nigeria made a sustainable great stride in asserting herself as one of the leading democracies in Africa and the world.
The government, and through the foreign service officers, Onyeama further said, is working on changing all the negative narratives about the nation in recent years.
“And we have to project what we know to be the real Nigeria, true Nigerians, people of humaneness who value brotherhood. This has always been part of us, part of who we are, part of our culture.
“And we have to project that much more and change the negative stereotype and negative narratives that seem to be taking root in the world today,” Onyeama added.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, told the foreign service officers to focus on the promotion of national interest than personal interest.
“The service is not an avenue for personal aggrandisement or quick financial enrichment. Rather, it is a call to service and that you should promote the interest of Nigeria and citizens.
“The opportunity must be seen as an avenue to serve your fatherland. Therefore, as a representative of Nigeria, you must not be seen to be apologetic for the policy and decision of Nigeria. Rather, you should endeavour to explain and defend our position,” Suleiman said.
On his part, the Director of the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy, Dr Cyprian Terseer, also admonished the graduating officers against the use of the foreign service as an avenue to become rich.
He urged them to demonstrate a sense of duty, self-discipline, transparency and a sense of nationalism.