The spokesperson to the president of Nigeria, Ajuri Ngelale, said that the decision by the Nigerian government to recall all ambassadors—except Nigeria’s Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York and Geneva—was to enable the president to “review the state of affairs at Nigerian Consulate Offices and Embassies worldwide.”
In a statement made available to the media, Ngelale stated that the president seeks to bring decorum to the system by ensuring that international best practices guide the operation of Nigerian foreign missions across the world.
The decision, which became public on Saturday, has whipped up reactions from stakeholders. One of them is Victor Ikoli, who was once the president of the Qatar chapter of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Qatar (NIDO).
According to him, the decision is the right one, but one that would have a great impact on the way Nigeria conducts itself internationally. He stated that Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with Qatar, where he had lived, would witness a new approach.
He said, “The decision by President Tinubu to recall all 97 Nigerian Ambassadors from embassies and high commissions across the globe, including Qatar, undoubtedly carries significant implications for Nigeria’s diplomatic standing and its relations with Qatar.”
He made reference to Yakubu Ahmed, a former ambassador of Nigeria whose two years in Qatar were cut short despite his outstanding achievements. According to Ikoli, Ambassador Ahmed facilitated “the development of strong bilateral relations and paved the way for various opportunities.”
Ikoli believed that recalling the Ambassadors has “reasons and benefits”, but must be done with consideration for the effect it may have on existing diplomatic relations.
He believed that recalling Ambassador Ahmed would slow the deliberate effort to advance relations between Nigeria and Qatar. He stated that Nigeria will not be represented by any senior diplomat at the Qatar Expo 2023, billed to take place in October. In his view, such an absence will have serious consequences for Nigeria-Qatar relations.
“This event is not only an opportunity for economic and cultural exchange but also a moment where diplomatic representation is crucial,” he said.
To him, there was an urgent need for Nigeria to appoint an Ambassador to Qatar in order to sustain the existing relations between the two countries.
To advance his position, he stated that “diplomatic transitions can be complex and time-consuming, potentially leaving Nigeria without a senior diplomat in Qatar for an extended period.”
He continued, “During this gap, Nigerian citizens and businesses may lack effective representation in Qatar, and the country’s interests could be at risk.”
He further stated that the absence of a senior diplomat in Qatar will mean that there will be no voice to speak for and in support of Nigerians living and visiting Qatar.
Ikoli emphasized the importance of appointing an Ambassador designate by advising the government of Nigeria to ensure that the rising cordial relations between both countries are sustained.
President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who is about to mark 100 days in office, had on Saturday recalled all Nigeria’s career and non-career ambassadors and high commissioners.