Members of staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have commended the Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama for placing Nigeria at the “top in the multilateral scene”.
Some of the staff made this known on during a farewell reception organised in honor of the Minister and the Minister of State, Zubairu Dada in Abuja, after a successful tenure of eight years.
Amb. Bola Akinremi, Director, Economic, Trade and Investment Division in the Ministry said that Mr Onyeama brought his expertise from the international organization where he worked for over 30 years to make a positive impact in the Ministry.
Mr Akinremi said that Mr Onyeama was a major push to making Nigerian take critical positions in world bodies like the African Development Bank, AfDB, among others.
He said that Mr Onyeama’s successes and positive impact could also be seen from Nigeria’s robust relationship with other countries and the diplomatic community in Nigeria.
“It is a very rare occasion to find a Minister of Foreign Affairs serving for eight years. Because what we do is not what we make noise about so it is not often in the public domain.
“But this is someone we know has had a great impact on the way things are done. I have had the opportunity of working with him when he came fresh, I was his spokesperson.
“And I knew the antagonism that came with it from politicians and he took it in his strides. He is not someone that is easily pushed.
“Secondly, when we get to the thick of the work, he was able to bring his professionalism to bear, knowing fully well that he came from the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva.
“So when he came, he was able to blend even though he was not a career diplomats.
“International Organizations got a boost under him, a lot of them serving there, like the President of the ADB, he made it a reality, it has been on before he came in, he game it the necessary push.
“We will miss him and I personally will miss him,” Mr Akinremi said.
Amb. Francisca Omayuli, Spokesperson for the Ministry described Mr Onyeama and Dada as teachers and mentors who always ensured they lead by example.
“I had the opportunity like many others to work with the Minister who is a mentor, teacher, and gentle but firm leader.
“The same goes for the Minister of State, and it was a great opportunity working with you both,” Mr Omayuli said.
Responding, Mr Onyeama thanked the staff and the Foreign Service Officers for their cooperation and dedication which was a major contributor to his success.
Mr Onyeama said that it was an honour to serve under President Muhammadu Buhari take Nigeria’s interests and foreign relations as a priority and this can be reechoed all the Ministers.
“It was indeed an honor of my life to serve under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Nigeria’s interest and its relations with other countries is always top priority for Mr President and that is visible with the top positions that Nigerians occupy in Multilateral institutions.
“I thank my brother, the Minister of State who we worked together as co-captains to sail this ship. If Nigeria Civil Service were staffed with him 60 per cent, it would make positive impact on our country.
“I want to also thank all the diplomats for the great jobs you are doing in your countries of posting despite the challenges and this can be seen from the warm reception accorded to Mr President by presidents of the countries of posting when he visits.
“I also want to thank the staff of the ministry for their unwavering support,” Mr Onyeama said.
Mr Onyeama, however, noted the paucity of funding to the Foreign Service with a hope that it changes for good.