Geoffrey Onyeama: One Appointment Buhari Got Absolutely Right

It’s been a roller-coaster first four years of President Muhammadu Buhari as the man at the helm of affairs in piloting the nation to greater heights.

All his cabinet members had tried to the best of their abilities to make his governance as successful as possible, or so it seems.

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One of those who have however stood out in this regard is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

Here, we will be looking at the gains of the Minister, as well as where there might be a need for improvement based on happenings during his time as the head of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Geoffrey Onyeama

Geoffrey Onyeama was born on the 2nd of February 1956, and is the son of popular Nigerian jurist, Charles Onyeama. He was in November 2015, appointed as the Minister for Foreign Affairs by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Onyeama holds a number of academic certificates from highly revered educational institutions across the world. He first obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A) in Political Science from Columbia University in New York in 1977.

He then proceeded to St John’s College in Cambridge, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law in 1980. Onyeama also holds a Master of Law (LL.M) which he obtained from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1982, as well as Master of Arts (M.A) which he got from St John’s College, Cambridge in 1984.

Onyeama was called to the English Bar of the Grey’s in the year 1981, and was subsequently admitted as a Barrister-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1983.

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Onyeama kick started his career working as a Research Officer in 1983 at the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Lagos. He was there till 1984. He then went to work with Mogboh and Associates as a lawyer from then till 1985.

He moved on to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), serving in the capacity of an Assistant Programme Officer for Development Cooperation and External Relations, Bureau for Africa and Western Asia. He steadily rose through ranks at WIPO and as at 2009, he was the Deputy Programme Officer for Development Cooperation and External Relations, Bureau for Africa and Western Asia.

President Buhari appointed Onyeama as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the year 2015. He is married with three children.

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Performance As Minister Of Foreign Affairs

The role of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Nigeria is to re-inforce the foreign decision making as well as the implementation of processes in the country. The Ministry also, is entrusted with the task of handling the external promotion of the domestic vision and ideals of Nigeria, as that was what it was created for. In recent times however, the Ministry has gravitated towards the push for awareness about the economic potential of the country and is part of the executive branch of Government.

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According to Onyeama, the Foreign Affairs Ministry had during his time in charge, played a helpful role in improving to a large degree, the global business relations  with the Country. The Foreign Affairs Ministry has also notched up the cooperation the country has with Neighbouring States in West Africa and the African Union as a whole.

The fight against terrorism was also a huge factor that was helpful in uplifting the image of the Country.

There was also immense progress made by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in the election of representatives of Nigeria into the various world organisations. The Minister said that the strong reputation that President Muhammadu Buhari had with the international community made this possible.

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Onyeama also orchestrated a delegation which was involved in providing assistance for Nigerians who were stranded in the North African country of Libya, and were made to live in inhumane conditions. This recorded a measure of success.

Onyeama made efforts to tackle the Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians who were resident in the Republic of South Africa which although could not eliminate the problem altogether, was able to soften the attacks.

However, Geoffrey Onyeama also had some challenges during his period as Minister in President Buhari’s first term as there was a shortage of funds. The Minister explained that he had had to cope with funding challenge. A lot more would have to be done in this regard in the future.

Onyeama himself had scored his performance in office as Minister to be high during the briefing he held with men of the press to mark the end of his tenure as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria.

He would be right in this regard as he was hardly involved in any sorts of controversy while in office unlike some of his counterparts.

Do you think Geoffrey Onyeama deserves to be in President Buhari’s Cabinet during his second tenure? Let us know in the comment section below.

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