Unveiling Nigeria’s envoys-designate

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After months of delay, President Muhammadu Buhari endorses ambassadorial postings, which include the country’s first female ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Uzoma Emenike. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to expedite actions on their resumption, Assistant Editor (Foreign) BOLA OLAJUWON profiles some of the envoys.

Nigeria is set to have its first female ambassador to the United States of America. She is Dr. Uzoma Elizabeth Emenike, Nigeria’s outgoing ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. She also has concurrent accreditation to Iceland. Dr Emenike, who was in the Foreign Service for no less than 30 years before retiring, is the wife of a long-standing ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Ikechi Emenike. She is one of the about twelve envoys retained by Buhari as a result of their sterling performance during their first outing.

The country will be represented in the United Kingdom by Sarafat Ishola, a former minister. Another ex-minister who on the list is Chief Demola Seriki, who will represent the country in Spain. (See list for other postings as obtained by The Nation).

Voice89.9fm learnt on Monday that the envoys may not be taking their seats abroad yet as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to perfect the process for their resumption.

On why the ministry did not release the names and postings of the envoys as approved by the Presidency for so long, the ministry’s spokesman Ferdinand Nwonye told The Nation last week that confirmation of “agreemo” from the prospective host countries is key in posting of envoys.

Agreemo is a memorandum from one nation to another agreeing to the appointment of an ambassador or envoy.

While it is yet to be confirmed whether the required “agreemo” had been granted, about 11 ambassadors were re-appointed, eight were retained in their current countries of posting and three others were redeployed.

Meet some of the ambassadors-designate

Dr. Emenike (United States)

Dr. Emenike arrived at Dublin on August 30, 2017, to assume duty at the Nigerian Embassy as the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Republic of Ireland. She also holds concurrent accreditation to Iceland.

She joined the Nigeria Foreign Service over 30 years ago. She served in the Protocol Department and Africa Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Subsequently, she was posted to the Nigerian Embassy in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire in 1992, where she served for six years. Upon her return to headquarters in Nigeria, she was variously deployed to other departments of the ministry, during which she represented Nigeria in numerous bilateral and multilateral missions, both at home and abroad.

In 2002, Dr. Emenike left the Foreign Service for the private sector where, among others, she worked as a management consultant.

She has two Bachelor’s degrees, two Master’s degrees, and a Doctorate Degree. Dr. Emenike holds a B.Sc. Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria and an LL.B from the University of Reading in the U.K. She also earned a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and another Master’s in International Management from University of Reading in the U.K.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (permanent representative, UN)

Muhammad-Bande, born December 7, 1957, is a Nigerian diplomat, academic and political scientist. He was the President of the United Nations General Assembly since September 17, 2019. He previously served as Vice President from September 2016.

He is also the Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations. From 2010 to 2016, he was the director-general of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru and was the Vice-Chancellor of the Usmanu Danfodio University from 2004 to 2009.

He attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1979 before proceeding to Boston University, where he graduated with a Master of Arts in Political Science in 1981. Muhammad-Bande received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto in 1987.

Ademola Rasaq Seriki (Spain)

Seriki, who was born on November 30, 1959, is a Lagos Island-born politician, teacher, businessman, accountant and public administrator and a prominent native of Lagos State. He started his career as a clerical officer in the Lagos City Council, City Hall, Lagos in 1978 and had a brief stint at International Bank for West Africa Ltd (IBWA – now Afribank) and thereafter proceeded to New York to pursue academic studies in the field of Accounting, Finance & Management. He later became a licensed teacher in Accounting and Business Mathematics with the New York City Board of Education. He has been a grassroots political organiser.

Upon completion of his studies, he joined the Rochester New York firm of Koskolowsky and Co. (Certified Public Accountants) from 1986 to 1987 as Assistant Manager (Auditing). He was also Customer Representative/Assistant Manager at Dollar Dry Dock Bank, New York City. On return to Nigeria, Seriki joined Equity and Trust Finance Company Limited from 1987 as Business Manager until he was appointed Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Council in 1992; a position he held till 1994.

He was appointed Minister of State for Interior from 2009 to March 2010. Before then, he was Minister of State for Defence (2008 to 2009). He was also the Supervising Minister for Mines and Steel Development from October 2008 to December 2008. Seriki was also Minister of State for Agriculture and Water Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2007 to 2008).

Sarafadeen Tunji Isola (United Kingdom)

Alhaji Sarafadeen Tunji Isola was born on November 25, 1960, became Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development on July 26, 2007, and was relieved of his duties by President Umaru Yar’Adua on October 29, 2008.

He obtained a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, London. He became a lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Katsina in 1983. From 1997 to 1998, he was Chairman of the Abeokuta North Local Government Council. He was appointed Special Assistant to the Minister of State, Finance (1999–2003) and was Secretary to the Ogun State Government (2003–2007).

Debo Adesina (Togo)

Adesina was at various times editor and deputy editor-in-chief and editor-in-chief of The Guardian. He joined African Guardian in 1988 as a reporter. Appointed editor, African Guardian in 1992, he was one of the longest-serving editors of a Nigerian newspaper.

He served as deputy editor of The Guardian in 1995 before being named two months later as Editor, Saturday Guardian in January 1996. He was appointed editor of The Guardian in 1999 and deputy editor-in-chief in 2002. He is a 1986 graduate of Mass Communication of the University of Lagos.

He is a six-time recipient of the Editor of the Year Award and was a Young Global Leader at the 2008 World Economic Forum. He holds a degree in Communications from the University of Lagos.

Ambassador Jiddda (retained in China)

Ambassador Jiddda, a Shuwa Arab man of Borno origin, who was born on October 1, 1951, in Marte Local Government of Borno State. He went to school in 1957 and graduated in 1975 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.

Before his graduation, he attended and obtained Primary School Certificate, West African School Certificate and Higher School Certificate.

Between 1980 – 1982, Jidda attended Post-Graduate Advanced Diploma in Administration and Master’s Degree in Development Economics from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

In 1997, Ambassador Jidda was appointed Secretary to the State Government and Head of Civil Service of Borno State on secondment.  In 2017, Ambassador Jidda was  appointed as ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, where he is currently the Head of Mission.

Muhammad Madugu (Switzerland)

Madugu, who was born in 1957, is from Bauchi State and was the ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland before the renewal of his appointment. He started his career with Darazo local government area on July 1, 1997, as Community Development Supervisor. From February 2008 to Oct 2009, he was permanent secretary in the Bauchi State Civil Service and retired after 33 years of service.

Madugu attended different seminars and workshop on management/administration, planning, building and financial control.

Oma Djebah (Thailand)

Djebah is the founder and publisher of “The New Diplomat” newspaper (wwwnewdiplomatng.com).

He was also Commissioner for Information in the state, where he revamped the state government information dissemination platforms such as The Pointer newspaper as well as digital media platforms leading to improved communications and service delivery.

Yusuf Maitama Tuggar (Germany)

Yusuf Maitama Tuggar (born 12 March 1967) is a Nigerian politician and diplomat, who since 2017 is the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany. He was previously a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011 representing Gamawa. He contested twice for the governorship seat of Bauchi State.

Tuggar was born into a political family in Bauchi State (Gamawa). His father was the Organising Secretary of the ruling Northern People’s Congress in the period before and after Nigerian Independence in 1960, who later became a Senator in the Second Nigerian Republic.

Tuggar received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the United States International University. He also attended the University of Bath and has a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge.

After graduating, Tuggar spent several years in the private sector.

In August 2017, Tuggar was appointed the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, playing a key role during the 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He also facilitated the state visit of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Nigeria in August 2018.

Kayode Laro (France)

Laro is a Nigerian diplomat and the Consul General of Nigeria, Atlanta Consulate. Before he arrived in Atlanta in February 2017, Laro was the Director in the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria. He has served in various positions at home and abroad.

He holds a Master’s degree in planning from the United Nations Institute for Development and Planning in Dakar, Senegal and graduated in geography from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria in 1980.

Dr. Eniola Ajayi (The Netherland)

Dr. Ajayi Eniola Olaitan arrived in Hungary on October 23, 2017, and presented her Letter of Credence on December 1, 2017. Ambassador Ajayi presented her Letter of Credence in Bosnia and Herzegovina on February 21, 2018. On May 9, 2018, Ambassador Ajayi presented her Letter of Credence to the Croatian President, H.E. Ms Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at the President’s Office. Ambassador Ajayi officially became Nigeria’s Ambassador to Serbia on 25th June 2019, after presenting her Letter of Credence to the Serbian President, H.E. Mr Aleksandar Vucic.

Adejare Bello (Mexico)

A former Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Adejare Bello was born on August 23, 1961, to the family of Alhaji Bello Olatoyemu and Madam Monilola Abeki of Aranhin Compound, Ede.

In 1989, Bello was admitted into the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife to study law and he completed it in 1994.

Bello joined the All Peoples Party (APP) in 1998 and in January 1999, he was elected to represent Ede North State Constituency in the House of Assembly. Again on May 3, 2003, the people of Ede North State Constituency re-elected him into the Assembly on the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP). He is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State.

The Non-career Ambassadors

1. Dr Uzoma Emenike (United States)

2. Ambassador Tijani Muhammmad-Bande (UN)

3. Adeyinka Asekun (Canada)

4. Yahaya Lawal (Saudi Arabia)

5. Ibrahim Kayode Laaro (France)

6. Modupe Irele (Hungary)

7. Eniola Ajayi (The Hague, Netherlands)

8. Julius Adebowale Adeshina (Togo)

9. Oma Djebah (Thailand)

10. Ademola Seriki (Spain)

11. Umar Sulieman (DRC)

12. Kevin Peter (Czech Republic)

13. John Usanga (Guinea Bissau)

14. Elejah Onyeagba (Burundi)

15. Philip Ikurusi (Argentina)

16. Tarzoor Terhemen (Namibia)

17. Paul Adikwu (The Vatican, Italy)

18. Al-Bishir Al-Hussain (Morocco)

19. Monique Ekpong (Angola)

20. Ominyi Eze (Zambia)

21. 16. Yamah Musa (Mozambique)

22. C. O Ugwu (Poland)

23. Hajara Salim (Malaysia)

24. Obiezu Chinyerem (Ireland)

25. 20. Ali Magashi (South Korea)

26. M. A Markarfi (Brazil)

27. Hamisu Takalmawa (Tanzania)

28. Jazuli Gadalanci (Kuwait)

29. Sadiya Nuhu (Romania)

30. Olorundare Sunday Awoniyi (Venezuela)

31. Abioye Bello (Pakistan)

32. Zara Umar (Malawi)

33. Henry Omaku (Sierra Leone)

34. Sarafa Isola (United Kingdom)

35. Opunimi Akinkube (Greece)

36. Adejaba Bello (Mexico)

37. Adeshina Alege (Ukraine)

38. Folakemi Akinyele (Philippines)

39. Abdullahi Yibaikwal Shehu (Russia)

40. Maureen Tamuno (Jamaica)

41. Faruk Yabo (Jordan)

42. Adamu Hassan (Vietnam)

43. Abubakar Moriki (Japan)

44. Mohammed Rimi (United Arab Emirates)

45. Jidda Baba (China)

46. Gani Modu Bura (Lebanon)

47. Yusuf Tuggar (Germany)

48. Baba Madugu (Switzerland)

49. Deborah Illiya (Congo)

50. Abubakar Danlami Ibrahim (Trinida & Tobago))

51. Haruna Manta (South Africa)

52. Yusuf Yunusa (Kenya)

The career ambassadors

  1. C.O. Nwachukwu (Mali)
  2. A. Kefas (Portugal)
  3. R.U Brown (Gabon)
  4. G.A Odudigbo (Liberia)
  5. O.C Onowu (Brussels)
  6. Y.S. Suleiman (Iran)
  7. E.S. Agbana (Equitorial Guinea)
  8. B.B.M. Okoyen (Cuba)
  9. G.M. Okoko (Deputy Head of Mission to Switzerland)
  10. M.I. Bashir (U.S. deputy ambassador)
  11. M.O. Abam (Italy)
  12. A.E. Allotey (Deputy France)
  13. G. E. Edokpa (Deputy Permanent Representative to The UN)
  14. A. N. Madubuike (Australia)
  15. Adamu Lamuwa (Senegal)
  16. Mr. Innocent A. Iwejuo (Deputy Ambassador to Ethiopia)
  17. M. S. Abubakar (Guinea)
  18. S. D. Umar (Austria)
  19. A. Sule (India)
  20. G. Y. Hamza (Ghana)
  21. N. Rimi (Egypt)
  22. L. S. Ahmed-Remawa (Deputy Cameroun)
  23. M. Manu (Gambia)
  24. R. Ocheni (Deputy Ambassador to Germany)
  25. A. Yusuf (Turkey)
  26. M. Abdulraheem (Burkina Faso)
  27. W. A. Adedeji (Gabon)
  28. A. U. Ogah (Indonesia)
  29. A. A. Musa (Rwanda)
  30. N. A. Kolo (Israel)
  31. S.O. Olaniyan (Sudan)
  32. A. R. Adejola (Switzerland Permanent Mission);
  33. O. E. Awe (Deputy envoy to China)
  34. O. O. Aluko (Benin Republic)
  35. I. A. Alatishe (Deputy Ambassador to Russia)
  36. V. A. Adeleke (Ethiopia)
  37. M. S. Adamu (Cote d’ivoire)
  38. N. Charles (Southern Sudan)
  39. Z M. lfu (Zimbabwe)
  40. B. B. Hamman (Sweden)
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