Since the recall of envoys by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in early September of this year, it has been a roller coaster of emotions for the envoys. They have screamed, and thrown tantrums like toddlers denied candy, they have been sponsoring articles with screaming headlines on the cover pages of newspapers.
First, it was the Punch on the 9th of September 2023 “Nigerian Embassies in crisis as FG delays funds” and then, recently the vanguard of the 10th of October 2023 with the heading Envoys stranded as FG drags implementation.
But it is time to tell the truth and call out their blackmail of President Tinubu. The recalled envoys need to be reminded that they serve at the pleasure of the President and can be recalled at any time, this is the first time in the history of the foreign service that we are having a pushback from the recall of ambassadors.
At this point, it is important to ask why the pushback.
The pushback is coming from several quarters and it is squarely motivated by avarice, the envoys want to milk their postings to the very end. From last-minute underhand deals to spurious claims of non-existent refunds, the agenda is endless. All of these the relevant departments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are well aware of. This, dear readers is the crux of the matter, it is all a self-serving agenda, motivated by a need to perpetuate themselves in office.
Since their recall, they have lobbied governors, and ministers and harassed relevant government officials to extend their stay to enable them to finish their “deals”, however to no avail. The President has simply refused to shift grounds. They have brought up the excuse of their children still in school, but truth be told their recall came out in early September, so there was enough time for them to transfer their children out of school. The request to extend their stay to December was not only untenable but the kids would have been in the middle of the school session.
They have also latched on to the issue of AIEs (Authority to incur Expenditures) for his or her passages, of which President Tinubu had obliged them, again they have come back to say there’s no cash backing to it.
Nigerian diplomats by their training are supposed to be the elite of public officials. However, this current crop of envoys, made up of career ambassadors and non-career ambassadors have not lived up to the egalitarian status that envoys are made of.
There’s a general claim that standards have fallen in the foreign service, it’s not far-fetched to see why this has happened if the elite of the service can stoop so low as to start sponsoring articles and tarnishing the image of the service where they had spent a better part of their lives. Therein is the testament to the fact that middle-ranked officers fight tooth and nail to retain so-called choice postings.
Recalled envoys should not destroy what remains of the service that gave them prestige, wealth, and global exposure on the altar of their selfish goals.
There’s no permanence in life, everything is transient, recalled envoys as Muslims and Christians should know this and stop clutching at straws above all stop these violent kicks reminiscent of the kicks of a dying horse.
Envoys should understand that the renewed Hope agenda of President Tinubu will not leave them stranded as they continue to postulate, their fears have no grounds, and their service to God and the country is appreciated, for the common good of the country they should stop and desist from the wanton embarrassment being caused the country and service that gave them their all.
Justice Adejoh writes from the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos.