…Nigerians in Canada Willing to return Home – Canadian HC
The Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), this morning, played host to a delegation from the High Commission of Canada led by Canadian High Commissioner, H.E James Christoff.
The team which was received by the Director General of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, later had an interactive session with Research Fellows of the Institute on issues bothering on Nigeria’s role in African affairs, policies which could shape the foreign policy outlook of Nigeria in the next four years as well as areas Nigeria-Canada diplomatic relations could be deepened.
NIIA’s Director General, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae in his welcome address, said the visit was significant as it was happening at a momentous time of Nigeria’s history.
He noted that Nigeria has continued to relish robust bilateral relationship with Canada.
In his remarks, the Canadian High Commissioner expressed deep sense of belief in Nigeria and acknowledged Nigeria’s important role in the global stage.
He added that Nigeria is the largest trade partner to Canada in Africa and the later would continue to build on that.
The diplomat revealed that most Nigerians living in Canada were willing to return home if the prevailing socio-economic issues were tackled.
He thereafter inquired about the factors responsible for Nigeria’s seaming invisibility in Africa affairs as a supposed ‘Big Brother’ in recent times and Nigerians overall expectations from the incoming administration.
While responding to the issues raised by the Canadian H.C, NIIA’s Assistant Director of Research and Studies Department, Dr. Joshua Bolarinwa insisted on Nigeria’s relevance in Africa affairs which he said was evidenced by the recent Kenya’s high-powered delegation to Nigerian President-elect, Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Dr. Bolarinwa said some of the lapses Nigeria is faced with are majorly propelled by insecurity which partnership with countries like Canada could help salvage, especially the Maritime Security issues at the Golf of Guinea.
In same vein, Prof. Osaghae alluded Nigeria’s less assertive role on Africa affairs, to evolving complex dynamism in multilateral relations and globalization.
He reiterated that Africa remained the centre-piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy which is evident in her front line roles in continental peace-keeping missions.
In his response, Prof. Femi Otunbajo decried lack of clear foreign policy blueprint of the incoming government saying Nigerians expectations from the next administration are not aggressive owing to previous disappointments encountered by the citizenry.
He however expressed optimism on the technocratic endowment of incoming president due to his antecedents.
All discussants agreed that Nigeria-Canada diplomatic ties must be mutually strengthened to effect trade understanding.