Shettima: Despite Tough Times, We’re Appealing for Nigerians’ Support

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, has appealed for the support of all Nigerians in ongoing government’s efforts at addressing the challenges bedeviling the country.

Shettima, made the appeal yesterday, in Abuja, at the official inauguration and investiture of the Academy of International Affairs Nigeria, a private led think-tank that aims to contribute to foreign policy formulation and implementation in the country.

The Academy is founded by respected Professor of International Affairs and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi who also doubled as the president of the Academy.

Speaking at the occasion, the vice president who was represented by the Special Adviser, Political Affairs in his office, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, said the present administration accept that there are challenges but only needed the people to have faith and support the government in its effort to bring Nigeria out of the woods.

He said: “This administration acknowledges the severity of our challenges, although we are also convinced that Nigeria shall survive its current challenges.

“What we need is faith and support, the same assets that saw us through major challenges in our past.”

He added that: “Nigeria lives with historic limitations and multiple contemporary challenges, and we will not claim that we are self-sufficient in answers to deal with poverty levels, limited resources for critical infrastructure and raising skilled and educated younger Nigerians.

“We need to begin to think of a future full of opportunities as well. In the next two decades, Nigeria will have one of the largest, youngest and most enterprising population in a world that will be aging and changing.

“We need to survive our current challenges with courage, wisdom, patriotism and vision of a great future full of our opportunities for the next generation of Nigerians.”

Speaking on the Bolaji Akinyemi-led Academy,  Shettima commended its emergence at this period of need, stating that: “The international environment is becoming increasingly more complex and more demanding of our best intellects, professionalism, commitments and visions to find spaces within areas demanding consensus, or in competitions with others and  managing conflicts.”

He added y that: “Nigeria lives with historic limitations and multiple contemporary challenges, and we will not claim that we are self-sufficient in answers to dealing with poverty levels, limited resources for critical infrastructure and raising skilled and educated younger Nigerians.”

The Vice President assured the Academy that government doors would be opened to it.

He added, “We will leave our doors open to this Academy for ideas and recommendations. This Academy will be a think-tank we cannot afford to ignore. We need your inputs on achieving our priorities in the contexts of often harsh and unforgiving circumstances.

“It is a great honour to witness the birth of an Academy which has great potential to make great improvements in the management of our foreign policy as we speak and in future.

“It is even more remarkable that the inspiration and impetus behind the formation of this Academy was entirely the initiative of distinguished foreign service officers who have paid their dues to our country many times over.”

“You have vindicated a widely-acknowledged truism that nations which know what was best for them trusted the conduct of their foreign policy only to its best and the brightest.

“Allow me therefore to place on record today, the nation’s inestimable gratitude to all our foreign service officers who saw our nation through its best and most challenging moments.

“I hope there are enough serving foreign service officers in this building today who should draw inspiration from the undying passion of service to the fatherland from all the Fellows and other members of the foreign service officers.”

 He also congratulated Akinyemi and other Fellows of the Academy, “for stepping up when the nation needs them most. The selection of Fellows of this Academy reminds Nigerians of its wealth in human resource, both active and relatively unutilised.

“I hope this Academy triggers an active interest among other professional groups to organise and place assets at the disposal of the nation.”

Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, who was the Chairman of the occasion, in his remarks, described the emergence of the Academy as timely, especially now that President Bola Tinubu was heading the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“While there are several government agencies that are created to perform vital roles in formulating and implementing foreign policy, the wisdom and experience of private citizens with many years of foreign service are invaluable. I therefore urge you Academy for International Affairs (AIA) to offer your services and collaborate with this and successive administrations to ensure that Nigeria’s rightful place as a global voice and leadership is secured at all times,” he added.

Those inducted as fellows of the Academy were: Akinyemi; former Director General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa; Amb. Godknows Igali, Prof. Joy Ogwu, Henry Odien Ajumogibia, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, Amb. Joe Keshi, Amb. Martin Uhomoibhi, Prof. Tijjani Mohammed Bande, Gen. Martins AGwai (rtd), Amb. John Shinkaiye, Amb. Segun Apapta, Amb. Jaiyeola Lewu, Prof. Akinjide Osuntokun, Amb. Hadiza Mustpha, Prof. Akin Oyebode, Prof. Nuhu Yaqub, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, Prof. Hassan Saliu, Prof. Eghosa Osagie, Amb. Brownson Dede,  Prof. Jide Owoeye, Gen. Obidan Ethan (rtd), Amb. Jibrin Chinade.

Two people also got ordinary fellow of the Academy and they were: Dr. Akin Akinyemi, Prof. Adewumi Falode.

Four other Nigerians also got honorary fellow and they were: Philip Asiodu, Amb. Abdullah Attah, Amb. Judith Attah and Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah.

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