Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Nigeria to Adopt Citizenship Diplomacy

From Chuks Okocha and Onwuka Nzeshi in Abuja

Nigeria has announced a “retaliatory” foreign policy, warning that any country that presents Nigeria as corrupt without showcasing the intellect of Nigerians would be declared a “hostile nation”.

The new foreign policy tagged “Citizenship Diplo-macy” was unfolded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, yesterday.It is geared towards “protecting” the image and integrity of Nigeria and retaliates against countries who are hostile and who brand Nigeria as “corrupt”, he said.

Ojo, who spoke at a book presentation by former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran, in Abuja, disclosed that Nigeria’s foreign policy, without any fundamental change in content, “is now what we like to call Citizens Diplomacy. It is going to be a citizen-centred foreign policy, which is: how does this benefit Nigeria and Nigerians? It is a way of strengthening our commitment to Africa.

“We believe that it is time to let the world know that Nigeria is not a beggar nation that has to be made to feel ashamed by the actions of a few criminals who disgrace us at airports in the world by their activities.

“So we have urged that for every Nigerian drug pusher arrested or 419 arrested or a suspect arrested in the major stations of the world, they have a responsibility to showcase those Nigerian surgeons that are making a difference in their communities of those countries.”
Accordingly, he said, “failure to tell the good story about Nigeria from now on, would be considered as a hostile act. Because if you brand us a nation of scammers, as a nation where nothing works, you will be undermining our self-esteem, you undermine our national unity and you make it difficult for investors to come to our country and that could bring unemployment and poverty and of course there is a linkage between poverty and insecurity.”

In this regard, Maduekwe said “we are simply saying, this diplomacy would be a diplomacy of consequences. If you are nice to us, then of course, we should be nice to you. If you were not nice to us, then of course there would be a cost. This is called the concept of reciprocity. This is called the diplomacy of consequences.”

He explained further: “Our foreign policy has come of age and the age of innocence is over. We remain proud of our track record right from Tafawa Balewa up till now. The country that has the largest black nation in the world could not have done otherwise. A world where every six black man is a Nigerian could not have done otherwise, or where every four Africans is a Nigerian could not have done otherwise.

“We should ask ourselves some hard questions: to what extents has our foreign policy benefited Nigerians? To what extent has our foreign policy put food on our tables? In other words, where is the citizen in our foreign policy?”

Quoting Williams Dubois, the Minister said, “The colour of the skin remains the defining paradigm of international relations. And I think that it would not be out of naivety for the largest black country in the world not to be conscious of the fact that colour of corruption is black, so long as the colour of corruption is black, so long as the colour of HIV/AIDS is black, so long as the colour of ethnic conflicts is black…all black people all over the world, whether they are Congress men in the United States or the United Kingdom, they will never walk proud any where in the world.”

He said that Nigeria carried enormous burden to be the symbol of the success of the black nation and there could never be a black success story, “unless it is a Nigeria success story.”

Sourced from This Day newspaper of 12.09.2007


Akosa Emmanuel said...

It's a laudable and Herculean task for Nigeria and Nigerians to spearhead this foreign policy in conjunction with BLACK nations.

But questions are to be asked: where is our patriotism as Nigerians? Do we Nigerians have morale at all,here and beyond? Why do our leaders in high places mingle in corrupt practices and other-related offenses to the extent of money-laundering?

All this brings bad image to our dear country Nigeria.

Kudos to Chief Ojo Maduekwe!

AKOSA Emmanel & OYEBANJO Ayinde, Department of Internationa Relations.Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Olujohnkay said...

Femabim speaks, it is a good gesture but in order for this to be achieved Nigeria has to look inwards,our image has to be projected in a very good manner.The case of mutallab and terrorism is a source of concern.All hands must be on deck to make sure that Nigeria's image is not shattered.

iyiola speaks, this idea is so much germane and pertinent but to what extent can we say that our leaders has improved the relationship between them and the citizen. To be sincere,there is no cordiality between the government and the there is a need for improvement in the relationship,the interaction between them should be cordial and firm.with this,the idea of citizenship diplomacy can come to reality.

Fabunmi femi (femabim) and ilelabayo iyiola(iyilex), International Relations department.Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Bode Agbeleye said...

May I need to advise that we should first work on our attitudinal behavior so that this will not be another failed policy. the Mutallab story and the continued deportation of Nigerians should be seen as bad signals to Citizenship Diplomacy.Remember, Gen Ike Nwachukwu was here with Economic Diplomacy but this could not bring us out of debt crisis much as it did not impact on our trade and investment. Bode Agbeleye,Dept of International Relations,Obafemi Awolowo University ,Ile Ife,Nigeria.

polily said...

hello, i'm a final year student of international relations. i'm currently doing a study on citizen diplomacy and nigerian foreign policy, information and materials on the above stated topic have not been very fluent or forthcoming and in the few cases i was lucky, they were either outdated or redundant. i'm thus pleading for fresh perspectives on this topic as its importance on the foreign policy scene, academic and otherwise, cannot be understated, interested interllectual should please flood this subject with their contributions so as to enable a sturdy milleu to this policy thrust from which students like myself can draw objective analyses. thank you.

yettywesley said...

Nigeria Citizenship Diplomacy:sound interesting but how pragmatic is this. Yes policy geared towards Nigerians will this be achieveable. Hope it won't be a lip service or policy where a lot is said and few or nothing is done. What has happened to Nigerian's citizens held at hostages in Somalia? What good is in fold for them? For 18 months now they are still there and nothing is done, yet we say Nigeria Citizen Diplomacy. I hope it become a realistic because it sound well.

Anonymous said...

its DAMILOLA from political science department of obafemi awolowo university so much had been said of the citizen diplomacy but how well has the policy lived up to its billing when saying its a reciprocity policy with respect to the addition of the nation as a terrorist nation by the american govt as a result of mutalab's action. does nigeria have the mind to declare the u.s as a hostile nation.