Former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Bola Akinterinwa, said he was not surprised that state governors, former ministers, and political associates of President Bola Tinubu are lobbying for ambassadorial appointments.
Akinterinwa said one of the reasons for lobbying for the positions is diplomatic protection, saying that those with corruption charges want continued protection after they leave their posts.
In an interview with The Punch, the former NIIA boss said another reason for lobbying to be an ambassador is to show off and reclaim the help rendered to the president during the election.
Akinterinwa asserted that the Foreign Service is not a place that should be treated like the civil service and asked President Tinubu to stop this special consideration given to political cronies.
He wrote: “There are many reasons why people lobby to be ambassadors. For instance, those who have corruption charges want continued protection after they leave service; they call it diplomatic protection, and this is of two types, as provided in the 1961 Vienna Convention and as provided by private international law. People complained when the service chiefs under former President Muhammadu Buhari were considered for ambassadorial positions.
“Governors who have stolen money still have immunity, but after their tenure, such an appointment gives them another four years of immunity. So, everybody is struggling to get an ambassadorial position for protection. Another thing is that people like titles in Nigeria. If Tinubu wants to succeed as President, he needs to stop this special consideration given to political cronies.
“The problem with Nigerian politicians is that they are more interested in self-survival than national survival, and there are many cases to illustrate that.