The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has appointed Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni as its new Director General. He replaces Barrister Emmanuel Cobham, who recently left the association.
Olukanni, graduated from the University of Ife (now OAU) in 1979 with a first degree in (Political Science). He joined the Nigerian Diplomatic service in July 1980 after his National Youth Service in Jos Plateau State. His first diplomatic posting from 1982 to 1983, was to the Nigerian Embassy, Brussels, Belgium, which also serves as the Nigerian Mission to the European Union. In 1984, he returned to school for postgraduate studies in International Law and graduated with Post Graduate Diploma in International Law from the University of Lagos Between December 1986 and April 1989, he served in the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations New York, covering among others the work of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Committees of the UN as well as the Security Council. He was thus involved in the work of the UN spanning Economic and Financial matters; South-south Cooperation, Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC); Social, cultural and humanitarian and legal affairs as well as Peace and Conflict Resolution and UN Peace Keeping operations.
He returned to Nigeria in 1989 and in line with his insatiable quest for knowledge he enrolled for another Postgraduate studies at the University of Lagos. He graduated from UNILAG in 1991 with Masters of International Law and Diplomacy (MILD) with focus on International Environmental Law.
Between 1991 and 1994, he worked at the Bilateral Economic Cooperation Division (BECD) at the Headquarters, (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and was in Tel Aviv, Israel from 1994-1998 where he functioned as Counselor Political, Culture and Information following closely the implementation of the Oslo Peace Accord. He also served in the Embassy as Pilgrims’ Liaison Officer.
In January 2000, he returned to the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York to strengthen the Mission when Nigeria was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the New York Chapter of the Group of 77 and China. During the period, he was closely involved in the UN Millennium Summit and the negotiations of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the meetings of the First Ever South Summit which was held in Havana Cuba from 10-14 April 2000, and where the Havana Programme of Action of the G77 and China was adopted.
From 2003-2007, Ambassador Olukanni was in Nairobi and served as Acting High Commissioner to Kenya with concurrent accreditation to Seychelles and Ag Permanent Representative to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UNHABITAT). On his return to Nigeria, in April 2007, he was appointed Director, Public Communications and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In August 2010, he moved to the Embassy/Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN in Vienna to serve as Charge D’Affaires and Acting Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). His other duties include overseeing Nigeria’s interest in the following Organisations based in Vienna, OPEC, The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), United Nations Industrial Organisation (UNlDO); United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC); UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS); United Nations Office on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
He was appointed Ambassador in February 2011 while serving in Vienna and posted to Canberra, Australia. From July 2011 to March 2015, he was Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Australia with concurrent accreditation to New Zealand, Fiji Papua New-Guinea and Pacific Island of Vanuatu.