Thursday, 15 October 2009

Citizen Diplomacy defined

Foreign ministers are usually known to promote a policy thrust for their tenure. So for example we have Hillary Clinton channelling what she's termed "smart diplomacy".

In Nigeria, foreign ministers past and present have not been lacking in this regard either. In the 1980s, Bolaji Akinyemi promoted Nigeria in the context of a "concert of medium powers", in the early 1990s, Ike Nwachukwu championed "economic diplomacy" and in the mid 90s during Tom Ikimi's infamous era, his thrust was referred to in the Nigerian media as "area boy diplomacy".

When the incumbent foreign minister, Ojo Maduekwe came into office, he came out with the concept of "citizen diplomacy" as the fulcrum of his policy thrust. But many have wondered exactly what the term meant. In remarks at the Brookings Institution on September 30, he gave this definition:

"Through citizen diplomacy, we want to reestablish the self-confidence of the Nigerian as a law-abiding, honest citizen that can play globally; that can be a responsible global citizen; and that each Nigerian citizen is indeed an ambassador of Nigeria, and that this is part of the strength of Nigeria, not just it's culture, but also the decency of its citizens and what they are contributing to wherever they are in the diaspora."

Will all his actions now match these fine words?

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