Chief Emeka Anyaoku
By Muhammad Bello
Former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Tuesday said except Nigeria was able to tackle the preponderance of violence across the country, its image on the global scene would continue to suffer.
Anyaoku, who led a delegation of the Presidential Advisory Council on Foreign Relations to present two books on the country’s foreign policy to President Goodluck Jonathan, said: “The insecurity in the land is a drag on our foreign policy no doubt, because our standing abroad depends to a large extent on our domestic conditions.
“So to the extent that we have insecurity at home it is a draw back to our foreign policy.”
Anyaoku, who expressed confidence that: “The President and the Government are determined to address the issue of insecurity and my hope is that in due course their efforts will succeed.
Nigeria’s standing in the World has improved tremendously since the return of democracy to this country in 1999.
Before then, Nigeria standing in the World was very poor. Since 1999, we have progressive increase in Nigeria standing in the world and at this moment, I believe Nigeria is doing very well externally,” Anyaoku said.
Receiving the books titled: “Compendium on Nigeria foreign Policy and Review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy: Issues and Perspectives”, President Jonathan said the books would equip government functionaries, professionals and diplomats and enable them handle their tasks and challenges properly, adding that the volumes will also serve as modern day student companion.
“These handbooks will be very helpful to prepare all of them (ambassadors) to do what they are supposed to do and even for the professionals to constantly remind them about Nigeria’s interest.
These documents are very relevant to us, because most people come in especially at the Presidential level, people coming in as Presidents, Vice-Presidents and sometimes even those who we appoint as Foreign ministers and especially some of our ambassadors may not be too conversant with Nigeria’s Foreign relations,” Jonathan said.
In his remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, said the country was angling for peace, security and good governance in the West Africa Sub-region and also unity in the African Union.
“We are trying now to ensure the security of our sub-region and of course unity of the AU as a whole and in terms of specifics, the foreign policy is now one that is channeled towards the attraction of foreign investments into the country.
“We believe that foreign policy must be used to support domestic programmes of government because your primary responsibility is to ensure that there is peace, progress and economic development of Africa and we are using our foreign policy today to support all government efforts in that direction.”
The Presidential Advisory Council on Foreign Relations was reconstituted by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009.