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Inauguration of NIIA Governing Council

On Thursday, September 20, 2012, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs inaugurated a new Governing Council for the Institute in Abuja. The inauguration came on the heels of the Performance Agreement done by the minister with the permanent secretary, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, undersecretaries, directors, and the chief executives of agencies under the ministry. The cardinal objective of the Performance Agreement is to ensure accountability, promote efficient service delivery and greater service output. These factors are component issues in good governance.


Major-Gen. Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu (Rtd)

Chairman, NIIA Governing Council

In order to facilitate the attainment of this objective, Government carefully empanelled a galaxy of academic and diplomatic professionals with very impressive credentials. The Council is comprised of 12 members, with Senator Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu as Chairman. The appointment of Senator Nwachukwu is most appropriate. He combines administrative, political, diplomatic and military experiences with national cultural background and upbringing, thus making him very unique. For instance, in terms of military background, he was Provost Marshall of the Nigerian Army. He rose to the level of a Major-General before he left the army. Politically speaking, he was Governor of the Old Imo State. He was Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. At the administration and diplomacy level, he was a Minister of Labour and a Two-time Minister of External Affairs. In fact, he was appointed a member of the immediate past Governing Council of the NllA but, for reasons of force majeure could not participate.


A cross-section of the NIIA Governing Council Members


The membership of Alhaji S. A. Tanko Yakasai is noteworthy. A veteran politician, he was former Commissioner for Finance, Kano State, from 1972 to 1975; a former National Assembly Liaison Officer to President Shehu Shagari in the period from 1979 to 1983; He was a member of the 1994-1995 Conference; And perhaps most interestingly, Alhaji Yakasai was a member of the First Governing Council of the NIIA under the chairmanship of Dr. Taslim Elias. Alhaji Yakasai represents the Presidency on the Council.


Professor Sonni G. Tyoden, a member of the Council, is a Professor of Political Science in the University of Jos. He also was the vice chancellor of the university. He was a member of the Board of the National Youth Service Corps from 2008 to 2011 and Chairman of the Governing Board of the College of Education, Akwanga. He is a member of the Nigerian Society of Interna­tional Affairs, and again, most interestingly, had once served as a Member of the Governing Council of the NIIA. He is currently a Research Professor with the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies.


The quality of membership of the Council is high and therefore constitutes a source of inspiration. Professor M.D. Suleiman of the Department of History, Bayero University, is one of the members. He is a Fellow of the Historical Society of Nigeria and of the Nigerian Institute of Development Administration, as well as the Chairman, Bayero University Research Board. Dr. Akin Oyebode is Professor of International Law, with specialization on Treaties. He is of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. He was a former Vice Chancellor of the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti. Professor Ben Naanen, a Professor of Economic History at the Department of History, University of Port Harcourt, is a member of both the American Academy of Political Science and of the New York Academy of Science. He is currently the Director of Emerald Energy Institute in Port Harcourt. Professor (Mrs.) Joy Ngozi Ezilo of the Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is a United Nations Special Rapporteur for Trafficking in Persons.


The high quality of the academic membership of the Council is also reflected at the level of the diplomatic experience of the diplomatic careerists in the Council. For instance, Ambassador Pius Ayewoh was former Consul General in San Francisco in 1984-1987 before his appointment as Nigeria's Principal Representative to Algeria in the period from 1987 to 1991. He returned to Nigeria to assume duty as Director of the Multilateral Economic Cooperation Department, from 1991 to 1995 and Director of the International Economic Cooperation Department and International Organisation Department from 1996 to 1999. He was Nigeria's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Geneva from 1999 to 2003. Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, an Oxonian and a Dan Manjen Koko, was similarly Nigeria's ambassador and Permanent Representative to Geneva. He was formerly President of the United Nations Human Co­mmission in Geneva. He is an academic by training and diplomatist by career. He is currently the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Theophilus Anthony Babatunde Shodipo is a veteran diplomat. He served in London in 1974 as First Secretary. He was Chief of Protocol (COP) at the Foreign Ministry and later became the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP). He was formerly Director of the Consular and Legal Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was also a member of the EFCC Board since its inception until 2007.


In the same vein, Ammuna Lawan-Ali, another member, is a veteran Permanent Secretary in the Civil and Public Service. She was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Com­merce, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Transporta­tion, etc. She is a member of the National Institute. She is a public administration consultant. With this group of sagacious minds, there is no disputing the fact that President Jonathan is con­sciously building a new foundation of objectivity of purpose for national development, using the foreign policy instrument of the NIIA. This approach to national development is commendable and should be further encouraged.






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