By Menkiti Onyebuchi Bernie, Editor
The Slovakia Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Peter Holasek will in few days draw the curtain on his sterling official diplomatic engagements in Nigeria. He is to return to his home country from where he was posted to serve as the Head of the Slovakia Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. He has since visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his last official sign-off engagements and had also virtually passed ambassadorial exit entreaty to the presidency. Mr. Holasek presented his ‘Letter of Credence’ to the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari on October 6, 2015.
His departure is expected to incite mixed feelings from friends of Slovakia in Nigeria who have in various events espoused the great friendship that existed between them, the man -Mr. Holasek- and Slovakia.
Under his watch -as the Ambassador of Slovakia to Nigeria- the last five years was largely beneficial to both countries, cementing a more solid Nigeria-Slovakia social and economic relationship and helping the incremental trade volumes between Nigeria and Slovakia. He built a reputable image for the Slovakia brand in Nigeria.
In retrospect, the diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and Slovakia has always been cordial, and bilateral trade engagements have been at a level best defined as ‘an economic normal curve’. Yet in recent times, at least in the last five years -of which Mr. Holasek was the Head of Mission of Slovakia in Nigeria- there has been increase in the volume of trades, soaring above predictable statistics, defying odds and establishing Nigeria as the biggest bilateral trade partner with Slovakia in the entire geosphere of West Africa.
More so, sterling gains were made in the same period as Nigerian businessmen became aware of the country’s incredible potentials, and began to seek to know more about the republic’s culture, political history, economy, and diverse opportunities.
As is the case, Slovakia’s diplomatic thrust revolves around its desire to see existential trade gains and economic cooperation. It more so, as a state policy seek to engender direct economic and business contact between interested parties in Nigeria and Slovakia.
Under Mr. Holasek, this direct economic contact resulted in the presence of some of Slovakia’s companies in projects in Nigeria.
Furthermore, under him, the export and import sections of both country’s economic dependence slightly opened for new markets.
Nigerian businessmen who engage Slovakia companies largely import machine wares, cars, and other machine-like instruments. The more the Slovakia government seek to broaden trade relations, the more Nigeria businessmen embrace Slovakia’s many opportunities.
To open up new markets and ensure that all potentials between the two countries were fully tapped, Mr. Holasek put together a trade proposal and forwarded it to Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that of his hometown for considerations. It is now in the last stages of study and considerations and is expected to replace the stale and irrelevant trade agreements of the past. Agreements were drawn in the name of Czechoslovakia, which has since become a shadow of today’s reality.
Mr. Holasek’s push for bilateral economic diplomacy between Nigeria and Slovakia is best understood from his insistent for direct economic and business contacts of Nigeria companies, be it medium scale or large scale companies, including the ability to grant them Slovak entities where necessary. This has shown a great impact on performance assessment.
The highlight of Ambassador Holasek’s official diplomatic mission in Nigeria was the visit of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, Mr. L. Parízek to Nigeria in November 2016. The visit expedited many unfinished trade discussions that included the two countries and opened up negotiations long ditched between the Minister of Foreign Affairs (state) of Nigeria and the Minister of Energy (state) of Nigeria and the state secretary.
Ambassador Holasek began his diplomatic career in 1977, after obtaining a degree from the Faculty of Arts, Comenius University, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia. Between 1977 and 1988 he worked at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prague, Czechoslovakia. In 1988, he received his first official ambassadorial posting becoming second secretary, Embassy of Czechoslovakia in Indonesia. He remained a member of the Indonesian diplomatic community until 1992.
In 1993, he returned to his home country where he served as the Director of Department for Information, Analyses and Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bratislava, Slovakia. He remained there until he was officially posted to Slovak Institute for International Studies, Bratislava, Slovakia where he became the Deputy Director of the Institute.
By 1995, he was made the Counsellor, Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Israel. This official service in Isreal lasted for four years; before he returned home as the Deputy Director for Cultural Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bratislava, Slovakia in 1999. That same year, he became the Deputy Director, Third Territorial Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bratislava, Slovakia until 2000.
In mid-2000, he was deployed again for the second time, to serve as the Director of Department for Analyses and Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bratislava, Slovakia, a position he held until 2003. In the summer of the same year, he left for Indonesia in his first full external service as Head of Mission. While at Jakarta, he served as the Ambassador of Slovakia to Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Between 2010 – 2011, Ambassador Holasek returned to serve for the third time as the Director of Department for Analyses and Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bratislava, Slovakia. And between 2011 – 2013, he was appointed the Head of the Middle East Unit, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Bratislava, Slovakia.
In 2013, he became the Director of the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa Department, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Born on 14 October 1953, in Bratislava, Mr. Holasek is married with one daughter. He was educated at the prestigious Comenius University, Faculty of Arts, Bratislava, Slovakia between 1972-77; before proceeding for a Ph.D. in 1981.
More photos from the 30th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolutionevent held in Lagos can be viewed on //diplomaticwatch.com/embassy-of-slovak-republic-in-nigeria-commemorates-the-30th-anniversary-of-the-velvet-revolution/