Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has expressed support for the call for the establishment of a Foreign Service Commission that will be independent and separate from the current Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Fayemi made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during the launch of the maiden Foreign Policy Journal by the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN).
Fayemi said that the call for the establishment of a Foreign Service Commission was part of the recommendations from ARCAN which he explained would help bring more efficiency to foreign service delivery.
“The establishment of a Foreign Service Commission is something that has been proposed in the early days.
“In 1975 a committee was set up and one of its recommendations was the separation of the Foreign Service from the home service.
“And it would just be people who want to have career in the foreign service that would go into the foreign service.
“And I believe it would give room for greater concentration, it would give room for creativity, innovation and a much more personalised framework.
“Our foreign policy environment is challenging, Nigeria is not what it used to be, of course, the world has also changed but what ARCAN is doing in my view should help us to recall those golden days of our foreign policy management and target recruitment.
“Foreign service is a very important sector because in the foreign service, it embodies every aspect of local services.
“Because when they go out they are representing trade and investments, they are representing petroleum, defence, everybody.
“So we need people who are trained in the best tradition of foreign policy training and who can project the image of our country because they know what the domestic challenges are”, Fayemi said.
Fayemi said that Nigeria’s foreign policy projects the country’s visions, objectives and goals, hence there was no room for it to be incoherent.
He said that it is on that note that in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took over, recommendations were made on priority focus on how best to restore Nigeria’s foreign relations and place in the Committee of nations.
He said that part of the recommendations were to guarantee the security and safety of our citizens by strengthening relations with our neighbouring countries, promote diversification of our economy and strengthen sustainable development.
Fayemi also corrected the notion that only political appointees were serving as ambassadors in foreign countries, explaining that there was a 60-40 per cent mix of career and political diplomats.
“Ambassadorial positions were not rewards to political party members. If you have limited positions for Ambassadors as you always have, clearly you have to balance.
“Nigeria is not the only country that has a mix of career and non-career diplomats, we have it all over the world.
“We have a good mix here, 60-40, we have more career than non-career diplomats and the non-career diplomats comes with experience that you might not have in foreign service and they come with values.
“But in choosing where you post people, you must take their CVs into account, check what they have done in their lives.
“Ensure that there is some correlation between what they have done and how they can be of value to the countries they are posted to.
“When you go into a country and you do not know anything about the country you would just be charting in the dark and will not know who to talk with to advance the course of your country.
“As an Ambassador, your job is to promote the interest of your country and your president”< Fayemi said.
Similarly, Amb. Oladapo Fafowora, ARCAN National President said that the commission when established would be a different institution from the federal civil service.
Fafowora said that the mandates of both offices would be different in so many ways in terms of the job content and recruitment.
“It will be totally different from what we have in the civil service.
“This is what we have been talking about for the past 30 years.
“The needs, expectations, and demands of the foreign service can only be met by the creation of a separate Foreign Service Commission,” he said.