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Nigerian Diplomacy in the Transition Period

By: Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai
 Published May 6th, 2010

Diplomacy operates on universally accepted rules and the fundamental principles of sovereignty, good faith, consent, state responsibility and peaceful co-existence.

Diplomacy and international law have passed through centuries of development. The first generally accepted guide to diplomacy was the “De re Diplomatika” which was published in 1681.The early work on Diplomacy was written by Dom Jean Mabillion of the Order of St Germaine de Pre. In this work, Mabillion examined the empirical nature of the writings of Van Papenbroek called,”Psopylaeum antiquorum circa veri ac falsi discrimen in vestui-stis membranis” This book was published in 1675.Papenbroek used, in this book, archival materials and monastic documents relating to the practice of diplomacy.

Mabillion disputed the theoretical foundations of the work of Van Papenbroek and in the process, unfolded his own views. His disquisition put diplomacy on a sound theoretical footing.

This did not, however, dwarf the conclusions arrived at by Van Papenbroek, but a lively debate ensured between the Jesuits and the Benedictines. (Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai, “International Law and Diplomacy in the Gulf Crisis” OEP Series, Vol.1, 1991)

After the Acting President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s successful visit to the United States of America, where he participated in the global summit on nuclear security, Nigerian diplomacy seems to have found approval amongst African states.

Nigeria was commissioned to speak for Africa at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference, which took place at the United Nations in New York on May 4, 2010.

Since 1970, when the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force, the treaty has been observed more in the breach as the Super Powers have intensified their nuclear research and production.

Occasionally, they would summon nuclear disarmament conferences to “talk” about nuclear disarmament, with little success, as a result of deep-rooted mistrust on both sides of the Atlantic.

The five-yearly review of the NPT has yielded little results. Only hortatory sentiments are expressed. This time around, efforts were made to recruit supporters in condemnation of opponents, which have nuclear ambitions. This polarized the conference as the combating parties walked out on each other.

Nigeria has no business in participating in this geo-political pastime. When the Nigerian delegation to the first NPT conference called for restraint in the production of nuclear weapons, the Super Powers simply ignored the advice.

With international terrorists on the prowl, all nations and peoples should be vigilant. Nuclear ash will not be easy to deal with. Unfortunately, the world has entered the era of “suspect everyone and trust no-one” with its attendant impact on the nerves.

I can hear young, bewildered souls asking in amazement what kind of social humans want to unleash terror on innocent, fellow earth sojourners. Well, those who know will tell you that these are spirit-beings, elementals from the Universe of fallen angels.

They are the Advance Party of the Anti-Christ, whose mission is to kill the Sons and Daughters of the Most High GOD on earth. Some political leaders belong to this demonic assembly. They are found in every continent.

In Nigeria, we should search for strategies to improve the lives of our teeming population, whose lives are precariously perched at the precipice. As a result, we have monstrous insecurity, which seems intractable as we live with conflict-related vulnerabilities.

It is generally acknowledged that this is the Aquarian Age, the age of Spirit consciousness. The Hand of the Triune GOD is now directing human affairs, in order to rescue Man from “Le Devoir de Violence” (Ouologuem Yambo).

In this dispensation, leading change is the duty of all political leaders, especially in the economic field. The welfare of the people should now be the cardinal requirement of statecraft.

Should the Federal Government wish to make a lasting impact in the short time at its disposal, it must engage actively in economic diplomacy. There is need to revamp our international trade strategies, direct all our economic and consular officers to foray into the market potentialities in their foreign duty posts and make such information available to our Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

This is what Chinese and other states do, which is why they are making such tremendous progress.

We have just climbed out of the “Valley without Echo” (John Akar) and we are not ready to ride another tiger’s back. This type of moralizing “should appeal to a society needing of re-awakening.” (Rose Mukuria). We need sober and down-to-earth, but high-minded political engagements in order to overcome the smiling derision of our detractors and break down the madhouse of prejudices they have built around us.

In tune with the World Trade Organization regime, our economic diplomacy should re-examine our legal frame-work for payments in international transactions, payment by open account, payment by collection, payment by documentary credit and payment under UN Conventions.

Why is it that a Nigerian cannot send money to his relations from Germany except in US dollars? This was the situation in 2005. I do not know whether the situation has changed. Why are we allowing our currency to be subverted?

We must review our banking and financing systems in order to minimize our foreign exchange risks. What is the volume of our foreign investments? We should expand our regional trade and encourage the Nigerian trader, who is involved in cross border trade. They need legal support in trade disputes. Our consular officials should assist them where practicable.

Government should under-take wealth-creating measures and not restrict its FEC meetings to the awards of contracts.

There are many other activities government should concern itself with. The government has a duty to prevent, detect and deter in a more effective manner international transfers of illicitly acquired assets and strengthen international co-operation in asset recovery.

We can involve civil society, non-governmental organizations and other community-based organizations. Suggestions from these bodies should be studied and implemented.

In order to promote integrity, accountability and the proper management of public affairs, government should make public, how the previous year’s budget was disbursed.

Our consular officials need to be trained in the fundamental principles of international economic law and practices. Their recruitment, retention and promotion should be based on efficiency, merit and aptitude.

Economic diplomacy during the transition period could help lay a solid foundation for development after the 2011 “selections.”

For sometime now, some states and their officials think that they have a license to denigrate Nigeria and dictate unsolicited advice to our governments. We should resist such diplomatic arrogance. It is the obligation of all states not to interfere or intervene in the domestic affairs of other states. It is an internationally wrongful act for states to use force or the threat of the use of force on the territorial integrity and political independence of other states.

Nothing is more demeaning than to observe that any” white flamingo” thinks that he or she can tell Nigerian governments how to conduct our diplomatic relations.

There appears to be evidence of acceptance and sympathy for the Acting President. However, it is too early to advocate what his future role will be or ought to be.” Man proposes, but God disposes.” Now that Jonathan has become the de jure President of Nigeria, he should pursue the Seven-Point agenda and execute his own programme with single-mindedness.

There should be no distractions because the task in hand is onerous, complex and delicate. The rule of law must be upheld. A government that does not respect the laws of the land cannot get the support of the people.

As long as the new President upholds the “law of righteousness” (Edmund Burke), he will walk through rose bushes. He too, will later realize that power is an illusion, which will, one day fade away, “for in the end nothing matters.”



Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai is the President of the proposed AFEMAI UNIVERSITY, FUGAR, EDO STATE, Nigeria.



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