THE IMO STATE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS UNDER CHIEF (DR.) FABIAN IHEKWEME :
- Njoku MacDonald Obinna
Owerri , Imo State .
In many countries of the world , the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the government department responsible for the state’s diplomacy , bilateral and multilateral relations as well as for providing support for a country’s citizens when abroad .
This particular ministry is usually headed by a Foreign Affairs Minister. In the Nigeria context , over the years , we have had several foreign affairs ministers that had successfully and proficiently handled this very portfolio with some midas touch of excellence while relating with the rest of the world.
However , because of the strategic roles and huge tasking responsibilities the Foreign Affairs Ministry is saddled with , the Federal Government in its wisdom through the Act of the National Assembly established the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission ; which is responsible for ensuring the engagement of Nigerians overseas in the policies , projects and participation in the development of Nigeria .
In the same vein , the lmo State Governor , His Excellency , Sen. Hope Uzodinma , after extensive consultations with respected constitutional lawyers and senior advocates of Nigeria (SANs), and in tandem with the laws of our country ; citing the second schedule of the constitution, established the Imo State Ministry of Foreign | International Affairs .
Good a thing , Chief (Dr.) Fabian Ihekweme ; a boardroom political strategist , foreign affairs analysts and management consultant was appointed by His Excellency , Sen. Hope Uzodinma as the Honourable Commissioner to head this very brand new strategic Foreign Affairs Ministry in the state.
While a number of not too well informed people have asked the audacity and rationale behind the establishment of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Hope Uzodinma Prosperity government. And such questions like :
“Is lmo State a nation or country of its own?”
“Does a state governor have the legal backing or powers to establish such Ministry in the state ?
In attempting to clear the above seeming doubts or arguments by these people , my points may sound somewhat bizarre and far fetched, nonetheless , quite reasonable within the confines of the law.
The provision of section 192 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended stipulates thus ; ” That there shall be such offices of Commissioners of the government of a state as may be established by the governor of the state .”
Therefore, the powers of the state to establish Ministry of Foreign and International Affairs ; which admittedly falls under the ‘ Exclusive list ‘ of the Federal Government , is however within the provisions of the law as far as such state does not extend its powers to establishing diplomatic and consular relations with foreign countries.
In understanding the enormous tasks of this very strategic Foreign and International Affairs Ministry , the lmo state governor in his wisdom appointed Cllr Celia Hibbert ; a London based Humanitarian and Social Welfare advocate , as his Special Adviser on Diaspora Affairs, to complement the efforts of the Honourable Commissioner for Foreign & International Affairs .
On this interview; Hon (Dr.) Fabian Ihekweme spoke about the brand new ministry , plans to give lmo Diasporas sense of belong and participation in the governance of their state; attract direct foreign investment ; massive wealth creation ; and partnership with International Donor Agencies for the development of lmo state .
Enjoy the interview.
Anchor man :
- Njoku Macdonald Obinna