BY NDUMBE BELL GASTON IN DOUALA
The Nigerian and Cameroonian bilateral relations are excellent! The disclosure has been echoed by the Governor of the Littoral Region, on the occasion of the presentation of exequatur to His Excellency Safiu O. Olaniyan, Consul General of Nigeria to the Littoral and West Regions of the Republic of Cameroon, last Wednesday April 17 at the conference hall of the Governor’s office amidst invited government officials, members of the Nigerian community in Douala, the Consul-General of Nigeria in Buea, the Consular Community and representatives of international organisations in Douala.
Governor Ivaha Diboua welcomed the massive presence of invited guests and personally mentioned words of encouragement to the new Consul-General. He continued that it is just over a month that Douala welcomed a similar guest into their fold. This, he reported, was ample testimony that Douala was not only an economic hub but was also becoming a fast consular centre. He mentioned that by signing a good number of exequaturs within a week was also proof that the President of the Republic Paul Biya recognised the importance of international relations in general and the privileged positions enjoyed by both countries in particular.
Ivaha Diboua delved into almost 60 years of bilateral relations between Cameroon and Nigeria stating that the two countries are, according to him, condemned by history and geography, to cooperate in a wide range of issues related to politics, commercial, cultural, religious, security, technical and other ties.
The Governor went on to highlight flash points like the exchange of visits by the Nigerian and Cameroonian Presidents in times of need. He applauded the diplomatic acumen and statesmanship demonstrated by the two brothers which hatched the Green Tree Agreement in 2006, their joint efforts in the fight against boko haram and a long list of others, such as the Bamenda-Enugu road and the elimination of double taxation.
Standing a few meters opposite the governor, dressed in official colours was the Consul-General of Nigeria. On his right was found the Nigerian Community. On his left were the Cameroonian officials and behind him was the consular community headed by their Dean, and traditional rulers.
Before handing over the exequatur to His Excellency Olaniyan, he and the governor were seen smiling over the exequatur followed by a powerful hand clasp and embrace. He was later introduced to the Dean of the Consular Community after which he shook hands with everyone.
Reacting to the media in a press briefing, His Excellency S.O. Olaniyan said they intend to organise things like trade tourism and the like, to boost formal trade. In an earlier response, His Excellency told the media that Nigeria –Cameroon bilateral relations can only become better. They have never allowed any break down.
His Excellency S.O. Olaniyan has a very brilliant and rich profile as disclosed by the Governor. Before being appointed to Douala as the Consul-General of the largest foreign Community in September 18 2018, the senior diplomat earlier served as first secretary of the Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York (U.S.A.), Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of Nigeria in Madrid Spain, and Acting Director at the Department of Administration in the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Abuja, Nigeria.
His Excellency Safiu Olukayode Olaniyan had earlier bagged a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. His thirst for knowledge made him holder of a Certificate in Diplomatic Theory and Practice from the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy of Lagos, Nigeria and he went on to have a Masters of Arts degree in Economic Policy and Management from the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning in Dakar, Senegal.
Governor Ivaha Diboua told those present that the exequatur automatically ratifies the Consul-General’s appointment by his country’s highest authorities. The governor cautioned him to minimize the risk of serious diplomatic incidents, to encourage the Nigerian Community to be law abiding and enjoined all the regional authorities to collaborate with him henceforth.