The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, has said ambassadors who are political appointees should refrain from abandoning their diplomatic assignments abroad for political activities at home.
He said although they were politicians who were appointed ambassadors, their diplomatic assignments superseded their party affiliations and activities.
Maduekwe was speaking at an induction for 11 newly appointed ambassadors-designate and their spouses in Abuja on Monday.
He said, â€Party will now be secondary in the running of the affairs of the mission. We wouldnâ€˜t like a situation where you leave your mission and you are coming to Nigeria to organise ward meetings or attend local government meetings.â€
The minister noted that as politicians, it was likely that party affairs would run into conflict with diplomatic assignments and admonished them to insist on the national priority of always voting for the diplomatic functions.
According to him, if there is any conflict between the conduct of foreign affairs of Nigeria and party assignments or matters, the former will take precedence over the party.
â€Because you are an ambassador representing not just those Nigerians who are PDP members, you are an ambassador representing all those who belong to other political parties and the vast majority who donâ€˜t belong to any party at all. Your number one party now is the party called Nigeria,â€ he said.
Maduekwe said that there was no difference between political appointees and career diplomats, given that all were coming into the job with relevant experiences.
He restated the imperative of submitting regular reports and dispatches to the ministryâ€˜s headquarters by the ambassadors as against the practice of writing directly to the President.
He said such a practice would help the ministry get to know what was happening at the embassies across the world.
â€I donâ€˜t have any territorial instinct. In treating ambassadors, I donâ€˜t consider them anything less than colleagues. As long as I remain foreign minister, I insist that headquarters must know what is happening in the embassies, because ultimately I am accountable to Mr. President.
â€So we expect you to write your dispatches regularly. And if you write anything and you want it to get my attention, I donâ€˜t know of anything that shouldnâ€˜t get my attention any way, you have to put my name on it, so there is no excuse that you sent your dispatch and the minister did not receive it. The minister is just a phone call away from wherever you are,â€ he said.
The new ambassadors are Mr. Aminu Wali, Mr. Adamu Daura, Mr. Isaac Onuh, Chief Lawrence Nwuruku, Mrs. Nkoyo Toyo, Mr. Hussein Abdullahi, Mr. Bature Lawal, Mr. Lawrence Akindele, Mr. Samuel Aiyedona, Mr. Rax Eze and Mr. Ghali Umar.