…Says Nigeria not a weak country

…Humility achieves better result than being a bully


From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Federal Government, yesterday, told critics of its foreign policy application that the fact that Nigeria does not throw its weight around in the application of its foreign policy, does not mean that the nation is weak.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this during the unveiling of the book, ‘Humility in Diplomacy’ authored by the Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bello Husseini Kazaure.

In attendance were the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, represented by the Director Overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Janet Olisa; the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami; the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Musa Bello; the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, amongst others.

Onyeama who appreciated the title of the book, said it was very important for a big country like Nigeria.

“You know very often, over the last seven years, we hear scholars and others in international relations, foreign affairs, of course, writing about what the ministry should do, should not be doing; what the diplomats should and should not be doing and as a big country, we should be banging the table hard and pulling our weight and throwing our weight around.

“Diplomacy is very, very hard, especially in the context of a lot of what is happening globally. Yes, you might be big, but ultimately, humility is also important and humility does not denote weakness, rather, strength.

“And in the spirit of diplomacy, when you are trying to achieve your own interest, national interest, you very often find that humility can actually help you to be more successful to achieve those interest rather than throwing your weight around, being a bully and being extravagantly proud,” Onyeama said.

Speaking further, Onyeama who said the title of the book was apt, also said the title represented individual.

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He disclosed that he has had the greatest privilege of working with the former Nigerian High Commissioner to Australia and in the headquarters for a number of years.

“First of all, I admire his courage to write a book. I was just discussing with the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory who was asking me when am I going to write my book and I said after you have written your own.

“If you really can summon that courage – first of all, the efforts that is required; the intellectual strains and especially while you are also working, a full job, and how you have to navigate your life’s story, so it requires a great deal, coming together to be able to come out and decide to write a book, especially in this area, international relations, foreign affairs that is very sensitive, very fluid, but also encompasses so much,” Onyeama added.

In his remarks, Gambari said it was a well known fact that diplomacy has helped to create an international order conducive for non violent resolution of disputes and greater cooperation amongst states and non state actors for sustainable peace and security.

Gambari added that the cooperation has given birth to the establishment of multilateral institutions, some of them with supranational status, attending to common global or regional concerns in diverse areas of human endeavours.

The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari further emphasised that diplomacy has significantly accelerated to a level of cooperation among states we see today.

“It is without gainsaying that public diplomacy encourages people-to-people contact across borders or boundaries which the author is vastly conversant with,” Gambari said.

In his remarks, Bayero said the book was a hallmark in the history of foreign affairs.

“Certainly it is a book that whoever reads it will gain a lot out of it, not only the researchers, not only the diplomats, but even the students who will read it, especially when it comes to international relations,” Bayero said.