Sixteen years in Ireland and in those years I have visited Nigerian embassy in Dublin several times to access their services, I have
been following with keen interest the relationship and business of the embassy with Nigerian community in Ireland. I have also witnessed changes in the diplomatic/political roles and management of the embassy. Recently Charge D’Affaires - Mr Iginla was directed to return to Nigeria on promotion by the current Buhari administration. I see the embassy as my second home in Ireland (and I think majority of Nigerians in Diaspora feel same) or first point of call if am in danger in Ireland and needs protection as a Nigerian. Passport Application/Renewal and visa documentations are also assessed at the embassy. With close observation and interest, the last two years were close to my expectations as to the role of the embassy to Nigerians in diaspora. It is in those years, I think we began to see some changes at the embassy or should I say, a better relationship between the Charge De’affaires and the Nigerians in Ireland. Perhaps that may be my opinion, so I went on the streets of Ireland to ask Nigerians what they think of Mr Olusola Iginla. Before I take you to what Nigerians in Ireland said, let me also give you a bit of background info on who Mr iginla is.
Mr Iginla is a Diplomat by profession who joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in April, 1984 as a Graduate Officer and rose to the rank of Director (Special Grade) in January, 2010. He was posted to Dublin Embassy in the Republic of Ireland in July, 2014 as the Deputy Head of Mission. However,” I became Charge D''Affaires of the Embassy of Nigeria in Ireland in September, 2015 when the former Ambassador, Dr. Bolere Ketebu was recalled to Nigeria.” As a diplomat, Olusola has served in North Korea, Sweden, Egypt, and Brazil before he came to Ireland, Mr Iginla has helped to bring about a lot of positive changes at the embassy and was determined to make services at the embassy easily accessible. He assumed office as the Charge D’affaires with “a big dream to transform the embassy.” A significant impact was made but not without challenging issues often termed as ‘Nigerian factor.’ He managed to make the embassy more organised, open and transparent. Services became easily accessible to some extent. I think Mr Iginla’s interpersonal and communication skills endeared him to many. H was accessible, professional and down to earth. At the end of September 2017, he was recalled to Nigeria to a new but higher position as Under Secretary in charge of Economic, Legal and Consulate Matters. Mr Iginla has since resumed at his new office in Abuja on 1 October. Congratulations, sir.
In my opinion, Mr Iginla has left a big shoe for his successors to wear but before I conclude, Let me take you through to what other Nigerians across Ireland say about the former Charge D'Affaires. According to Dotun Adegbesan , president, the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE) Ireland’s chapter, “Mr Iginla is a very approachable diplomat.”
Ada Christine Eloji, Mr Iginla was very accommodating and an advocate for integration having witnessed him on different occasions attending events organised by various groups and individuals. I must commend his love for unity.”
Dr Theo Ejorh, “I think Mr Iginla is a warm and convivial person, and mixes well with people.”
Dr Kunle Animashaun, Mr Olusola Iginla’s tenure as the Charge D’Affaires of the Nigerian embassy in Ireland was marked by high standards and a commitment to the well being, cooperation and integration of Nigerians between themselves and also within the Irish society.”
However, Chinedu Onyejelem has a contrary opinion and he said, “Mr Iginla was a pathetic Nigerian diplomat in Ireland. He made many miserable decisions that affected the progress of many Nigerians here.”
According to Pamela Kpaduwa, “Mr Iginla brought a noticeable change to the embassy. Having been to Nigerian embassy for passports/visa services in the past, I can comfortably say that his tenure brought a huge improvement to the process of procuring passport/visa Tension and shouting was replaced with professionalism. That’s a good job on his part.”
Finally, Emeka Ikebuasi said, “Mr Olusola Iginla demystified foreign service and elevated citizen diplomacy to a new height.” From my research, about 99% of the people I interviewed who apparently are located at different areas of Ireland have positive remarks to make about Mr Iginla. They also did not know who else I interviewed except by reading it here.
A new ambassador has been appointed to the embassy in the person of Dr Uzoma Emenike who was working in London as Management Consultant before her appointment. I heartily welcome Her Excellency Dr Uzoma. Nigerians in Ireland are full of expectations from you.
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