- President Buhari declares open Induction Course for Newly Appointed Career Ambassadors at the NIA Headquarters
- The leader of the nation expressed optimism that in 2017 the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will ebb
- He charged the ambassadors to change the narrative of Nigeria outside the country
President Muhammadu Buhari has on December 19, Monday, said that Nigeria's recession will ease in 2017.
Femi Adesina, presidential media aide, revealed this in a statement made available to newsmen.
The president was speaking in Abuja while declaring open an induction course for Nigerian Career Ambassadors-designate who were recently cleared by the Senate.
Buhari said: “We are optimistic that the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will ebb in 2017. Until then, I regret that the resources available to fund our missions abroad will not be as robust as we would like.
“We are working hard to turn around our national economy by effectively reforming our macroeconomic environment through measures, some of which were outlined in my budget speech to the National Assembly last week.”
The leader of the nation reminded the ambassadors-designate that: “as we are all making great sacrifices at home, we also expect you to similarly make judicious use of the resources put at the disposal of your missions. As Heads of missions, you will be held accountable for the utilisation of all resources under your control. These are lean times, and all of us are expected to do more with less.”
He particularly charged them to change the narrative of Nigeria outside the country by playing up the positive values and outstanding contributions of Nigerians in the global arena.
“I want to emphasise your duty to change the narrative of Nigeria as seen by the outside world. For far too long, we have allowed Nigeria to be defined by others, always emphasizing our negatives. To the average foreigner, Nigeria evokes 419, terrorism, militancy, communal and religious clashes, insecurity, corruption and all our other faults,” the president said.
“You have the duty to correct this narrative by taking the initiative to define and portray our country for what it truly is. We are a nation of 180 million vibrant, enterprising, hardworking, hospitable and peaceful people. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities as strengths such that we are the leading country on the continent.
“Therefore, you will need to mobilise, sensitise and motivate all your staff so that together you engage with your host governments, the private sector and other segments of the society to explain that Nigeria is much more than the negative image portrayed to them.”
President Buhari advised them to sustain the work ethic characterized by the love of country, professionalism, excellence, integrity and honour associated with the “Nigerian diplomatic tradition established in 1957 by the pioneers of the Nigerian Foreign Service, sometimes referred to as the “Twelve Apostles” and also “bequeath same to succeeding generations. ”
“As Nigerian Ambassadors, you must set the standard of putting Nigeria first in all your actions. You must show leadership, fairness and justice to all. Discipline, probity, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption must be your watchwords. You are expected to project the best image and traditions of our country in your conduct and all you do.”
In August, Nigeria 'lost its crown' as the largest economy in the region to South Africa after the International Monetary Fund worked out the sizes of the two economies using current exchange rates.
The news was capped by the announcement on August 31 that Nigeria had officially entered recession after its economy contracted for the second consecutive quarter.