Nigeria’s foreign policy and diplomacy have been on a decline for quite some time with Nigerians treated unfairly in foreign lands and our foreign missions not giving adequate representation and protection in such instances.
As we speak, there are many Nigerians on death row and detention facilities in many countries and the closure of foreign missions in the midst of all these has affected the efficiency of diplomatic efforts and presence.
Three instances come to mind when it comes to the decline in our foreign policies and regard to our nationals in foreign lands.
The first instance was the regular xenophobic attack, in which Nigerians are often the greatest target.
Governmental responses have not been strong and enduring to guard against future attacks. The second was the demolition of our mission house in Ghana. So much was the effrontery of the landlord in strong defiance and brazen disregard to the United Nations Charter with the demolition of the property.
The third and final instance was when Abdulrahman Ibrahim, a consular officer based in Jakarta, being held down in a vehicle by several men who were immigration officials in Indonesia.
In the midst of this shabby treatment meted on Nigerians globally, there is one man who through his activities is giving us something to hang on; a silver lining in the dark cloud. Governor Bello Muhammed Matawalle in the space of thirty days have earned Nigeria deserving recognition through his individual diplomatic efforts.
Some weeks ago, the highest national honour of the Niger Republic was bestowed on him and other Nigerians because of his collaborative efforts with the government of that country. Collaborative efforts have turned around the fortunes of Nigeria in her war on terror as our fighting troop is now winning the war on terror.
At the just concluded International Hausa Day Hausa Arts and Culture exhibition known as HAUSAFEST (Ranar Hausa) celebrated in Zango, Kumasi, Ghana, Governor Bello Mohammed hosted as Special Guest of Honour. Matawalle, who was at the event on the formal invitation of the organisers of the event, was again honoured as he was turbaned as the Fagacin Zango, Kumasi, Ghana.
It must be stated for the records that the Minister extolled the virtues of Governor Matawalle for his diplomatic efforts as his visit to Ghana demonstrated his commitment to bolstering cooperation between Ghana and Nigeria.
Also, the Sarkin Zangon Kumasi, observed that the decision of the Youth to institute the Hausa day as a way of improving the cultural heritage of the people was commendable and thanked Governor Matawalle for finding time to visit the people which he said was a morale booster to his people.
True to his nature, Governor Matawalle called on the Hausa community to continue living in peace and harmony, saying that the life of the Hausa people in Ghana was worthy of emulation. He advised the Youth to continue with their efforts at preserving the Hausa culture and continue to live in peace with their neighbours. As a natural diplomat, Governor Matawalle paid a courtesy call on the Vice-President of Ghana, Dr Muhammad Bawumia. He extolled the good leadership being provided to Ghanaians and promise to continue the cooperation between his people and that of Ghana.
Aside from being the Governor of Zamfara state and a leader who leads his people out of the worst experience due to insecurity, Matawalle is fast earning the reputation of being Nigeria’s top diplomat.