FORMER minister of mines and steel Alhaji Sarafa Ishola has been appointed as Nigeria’s new high commissioner to the UK as part of the deployment of ambassadors by President Muhammadu Buhari.
After being re-elected in 2019, President Buhari recalled his ambassadors and sent a fresh list of appointees to the National Assembly. Last year the list was approved by senators and last week, the envoys were deployed to their respective countries, with Alhaji Ishola given the task of manning the largest Nigerian mission worldwide.
Historically, the UK has always been Nigeria’s biggest diplomatic mission anywhere on earth, being about twice the size of its nearest rival the US embassy. As a result, the high commissioner to the UK has always been a close ally of the president who has direct access and who is very influential in political circles.
A native of Ogun State, Alhaji Ishola is also a close ally of the former governor Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who is one of President Buhari’s closest confidants. Alhaji Ishola who hails from Abeokuta was once the secretary to the Ogun State Government and was also a one-time chairman of Abeokuta Local Government Area.
Before joining politics, Alhaji Ishola worked for the Ogun State Broadcasting Service as marketing manager. he is one of several high profile ambassadors just named, including former minister of state for defence Demola Seriki, who becomes Nigeria’s ambassador to Spain and the editor-in-chief of The Guardian newspaper, Debo Adesina, will serve as the ambassador to Togo.
Nigeria’s current Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Uzoma Emenike, has been posted to the US as the ambassador, while MI Bashir will serve as deputy ambassador. In all, there were 52 non-career envoys posted out by the president and 43 career ambassadors based on the confirmed list from the Senate.
As part of the postings, Ambassador Tijani Muhammmad-Bande will retain his position as Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, while Adeyinka Asekun will remain the high commissioner to Canada. Modupe Irele, who is the current ambassador to France, will be redeployed to Hungary, while Eniola Ajayi, the ambassador to Hungary is expected to be redeployed to the Netherlands.