Indications have emerged that the Irish President Michael D. Higgins may visit Nigeria soon. As part of the outcome of the presentation of the letter of credence by Nigeria’s new Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, Dr. (Mrs.) Uzoma Elizabeth Emenike, recently in Dublin, a suggestion was made that President Higgins should pay a state visit to Nigeria, which the latter said he would seriously consider.
Emenike actually informed President Higgins that in line with the principle of reciprocity in diplomatic relations, it would be splendid for the Irish President to pay a state visit to Nigeria since a Nigerian leader, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had visited Ireland in 2002. Higgins promised to give her suggestion a serious consideration. He went further to trace the history of relationship between both countries, pointing out that both countries established diplomatic relation immediately after Nigeria gained her independence from Britain in 1960. Emenike told Higgins that the opportunities which Nigeria offers would be greatly enhanced by diplomatic engagement of both countries at the highest level of leadership.
The new envoy told President Higgins that he shared a lot in common with President Muhammadu Buhari, particularly in the areas of moral integrity and passion to develop their respective countries.
She also informed Higgins that by a wide margin, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, and that Buhari’s government had done a lot to enhance the ease of doing business in the country.
Ambassador Emenike equally indicated that with the biggest population on the African continent, with one in every five black persons in the world, Nigeria’s investment potentials are enormous. Nigeria, according to the Ambassador, also has a youthful population, where over 60 per cent is under 35 years. With these attractive features of the economy, she added that Irish investment in Nigeria is guaranteed present and future profitability.
Higgins equally said the relations between the two countries were deep because of the work of Irish missionaries during the colonial era. He was particularly happy with the efforts President Buhari’s government has made to contain the menace posed by Boko Haram, just as he applauded the work of over 40,000 Nigerians who live, work, or study in Ireland. He wished Ambassador Emenike a successful tenure and pledged to support any initiatives that would further boost relations between both countries.