Saturday, 19th March 2022 was indeed a good day for Mohammed Kawu Ibrahim, popularly known as M.K. Ibrahim, or simply 'MK'. It was the day he formally launched his 460 page book with 18 chapters, titled 'With Heart & Might'. The book is a lucid chronicle of MK's exploits for 33 years in Nigeria's foreign service. Eminent citizens, including myself were there to support him. Some of the eminent persons present are:
*HRH Aminu Ado Bayero - Emir of Kano
*Prof. Ibrahim Gambari - Chief of Staff to the President
*Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa - Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs
*Amb. Sani Bala - ED Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy & Development (SCDDD)
*Amb. Brownson Dede - Book reviewer
*Ahmed Rufai Abubakar - DG National Intelligence Agency (NIA)
*Amb. Shinkaiye - President, Association of Retired Ambassadors in Nigeria (ARCAN)
*Gabriel Aduda - Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
*Amb. Jibrin Chinade, MFR (Represented by daughter, Barr. Chinade)
Chapter 1 discusses his brief sojourn as an 'accidental banker' before he found his calling in the foreign service. Chapter 2 is about the beginning of his career, when he encountered teething problems of eating 'geisha' with bread for dinner often and living virtually in his car in Lagos because of accommodation problems! He describes the 'new dawn' in chapter 3 (1999 to date), with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs adjusting to the Presidential system of government. The Ministry trying to balance the needs of Legislators with what the Executive wants: The era of 'legislative diplomacy'.
Another area of concern is the high percentage of non-career diplomats deployed to foreign Missions - sometime they constitute over 60% of heads of Missions. This dampens the enthusiasm of career diplomats who might have been waiting for decades to become Ambassadors and get posted to foreign Missions...MK writes bluntly and frankly on every issue without being offensive.
MK also addresses the challenge of illegal immigrants in the diaspora. While in Gabon, he encountered many Nigerian illegal immigrants who were 'products' of the Nigerian civil war. He laments the fact that no Nigerian Mission can repatriate even five Nigerians. Poor funding makes this impossible. However, in Libya the government had to hurriedly repatriate at least 24,000 Nigerians!
MK also recorded humorous and painfully tragic events. Adiza, his daughter, died while MK was serving in Brussels. The more tragic detail is that the death was caused by a leaking gas pipe in his abode! This was definitely a fall-out of the inability to maintain government property at home and even abroad. These details are in pages 201-206 of the book.
About MK's sojourn in Libya. He believes that in-spite of all his faults, Mu'ammar Gaddafi was a hero. His disappointment towards the end of his life was how he was betrayed by African countries. On the whole, MK's frank memoir expounds the dream of a competent and professional foreign service officer/diplomat. So far ten such books have been written by retired diplomats. Many times during the event, those who had not written theirs were encouraged to do so. Congrats once more, MK...