Amazing stories of Nigerian ambassadors

Despite her enormous security and other developmental challenges at home and the criminal activities of some of her nationals abroad, Nigeria has huge human capital scattered all over the world and contributing immensely to the development of their host countries.

That was the observation of Dr Ebun Sonaiya, a frontline medical practitioner and pioneer health management organiser, while speaking as chairman at the public presentation of a book in Lagos recently.

Titled The World at Their Feat: Amazing Stories of 100 Nigerian Diaspora Ambassadors, the book written by Mr Folu Koyi, a journalist and biographer, is divided into seven parts. Part One, which he titled Global Icons, features five personalities holding international appointments on merit including Dr, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was recently appointed the first female director-general of World Trade Organisation, and Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, president, African Development Bank.

Part Two titled Global Headliners has 14 Nigerians who have been in the news in recent times for some spectacular achievements of global relevance, and include Prof. Oluyinka Olutoye, a renowned paediatrician who was recently cited in a stunning medical feat, Chimamanda Adichie, the award-winning novelist, and Lt Victor Agunbiade, a hero of honesty in the service of the US Navy.

In Part Three, which is aptly titled Trail-Blazers, the author chronicles the achievements of 38 of the country’s nationals who have either set a record in their various disciplines, or recorded some other spectacular breakthroughs. They include Emmanuel Ohuabunwa, Victor Olalusi and Hallowed Olaoluwa, all of whom set academic records in their various fields of study in different universities abroad.

Professional Leaders, the title of Part Four, comprises 29 subject personalities who stand out in their various callings. The uniqueness of this section is that it includes politicians and government appointees in the UK, USA and other countries, who are spotlighted as a collective. Under what he titled, Biden Their Time, for instance, the author writes about some Nigerians who were recently appointed into key positions by US President Joe Biden, including Mr Adewale Adeyemo, the first African in US history to be named Deputy Treasury Secretary; and Ms Enoh Ebong, Acting Director US Trade and Development Agency.

Eight global personalities are listed in Part Five as Global Champions. They include Zuriel Oduwole, the teenager who is globally renowned for her girl-child advocacy, over which she has met many world leaders, and Anthony Joshua, the world heavyweight boxing champion.

Part Six, titled Entrepreneurial Leaders, is led by Mr Adebayo Ogunlesi, a corporate attorney and investment banker whose company was reported recently to have successfully negotiated the purchase of London’s Gatwick Airport, London City Airport and Edinburgh Airport, and has been involved in other strategic investments across the globe.

Recognising the potential in youths as tomorrow’s leaders, the author devotes Part Seven to what he calls Rising Stars, in which he spotlights 18 bright young men and women in their 20s and 30s, whose brilliant academic records are already setting them on the path to stardom. So also are six pre-teens, titled Wonder Kids, who are already recording spectacular feats in various fields, including academics, sports and social reform crusade.

In a separate section, titled Posthumous Recognitions, the author pays tribute to two Nigerians, Messrs John Ogbu and Kayode Fahm, for their sterling contributions to knowledge while they were alive.

The last section of the book, the Appendix, contains short profiles of 50 other Nigerians whom the author says are no less important than the 100 subject personalities, but who could not be treated as such for space constraint.

The event was held via Zoom, and had in attendance many distinguished Nigerians, including elder statesman and Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who described the author as a quiet, yet resourceful and creative writer whose type is an asset to a developing country like ours, and Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, who wrote the Foreword to the book.

The 265-page book was reviewed by an erudite lawyer, Mr Adekunle Tuyo, and unveiled by Dr Femi Oduyemi, a California-based city planner, public policy advocate and entrepreneur.