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*Why are Nigerians in Thailand? (The Ambassadorial Outlook)
By Emmanuel Nweke Okafor
Introduction Leadership has been variously explained but the most satisfactory description of a good leader which is acceptable to all is the fact that a good leader has the ability and the power to unite others in order to freely achieve a goal. Almost all associations, organizations and communities of the world crave for a good leader for the simple reason that a bad leader brings sorrow and pain while a good leader brings joy, happiness and peace within a given community. Thus, Nigerians in Thailand have unexpectedly embraced peace, unity and affability which had eluded an average Nigerian in Thailand because of quarrels and various fractions which many Nigerians in Thailand have created. It is no longer a secret that various factions have been united by the present Ambassador to Thailand, His Excellency, Chukwudi Newington Okafor. Just within a month and few weeks this erudite scholar, seasoned and experienced career diplomat has enveloped all the various Nigerian groups with love and the spirit of good and a focused mission not only for the diplomatic relationship but also in the area of human relations. In all these, many Nigerians in Thailand have realized that nothing is as good as having a good leader with the following demonstrated disposition from the Nigeria Ambassador to Thailand.
Clear Vision: It is one thing to talk about a vision but another thing is to have a clear vision, explain it, share it among the people and create an atmosphere so that people are enabled to act on it. His Excellency, Ambassador Chukwudi N. Okafor has indeed demonstrated that the best way to connect Nigerians in Thailand is not only by talking to them individually but by creating a functional website where information can flow. It was as if Nigeria Embassy in Thailand was a blind alley in terms of getting befitting information but the coming of the new Nigerian Ambassador has given us another opportunity. Now both Nigerians and non-Nigerians can have access to information about Nigeria and its people via the www.nigeriaembassythailand.com . To some it should not be a new thing given the global (internet) epoch but to some of us in Thailand it is indeed a dream come true. It is a trend provided by a leader with good vision. We love it. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Thailand
Assertiveness: The need to clearly state objectives and expectations is a great leadership ingredient to avoid unnecessary interpretations and misunderstandings. The ambassador has shown his assertiveness in his inaugural speech to Nigerian Community in Thailand. I see the speech as a means to get the desired results. To view the speech please go to this blog (http://www.nigeriaembassythailand.com/pe_08112012.php)
Fairness: The ambassador, among many other good qualities of a good leader he posses, entered Thailand at the point many Nigerians are fighting themselves via smear campaigns and poisonous gossip yet he has handled the situation with a great amount of honesty, fairness, consistency and justice. He checks all the facts, hears everyone out and listens to all before acting for the sake of harmony. Now most Nigerians in Thailand are in the process of regaining the lost trust on Nigerian Embassy Thailand because the ambassador has shown loyalty and dedication. It is now our own turn to be fair to one another.
Integrity: The ambassador has demonstrated that he trusted the Nigerian Community in Thailand through his Town Hall Meeting in Sukunvit Soi 101/1. For me, the meeting was a display of a high level of integrity which a good leader must show to the followers. He provided the time for Nigerians in Thailand to ask questions and through such questions answers were provided which enabled the community to understand the situation of things better. The great moral lesson here is that the ambassador is approachable and lovely. It is a great challenge to all of us. Nigerian students in Thailand are hereby called to move towards integrity instead.
Dedication: The ambassador has inspired dedication by example when he expressed forgiveness to the unacceptable incident that took place in Nigerian Embassy in Bangkok last year. He went further to outline the positive steps he has taken to properly settle the case in the court of law. He has continued the good steps of his predecessor, Ambassador Suleiman when he used the word forgiveness and called all the Nigerians to follow his step so that peace will reign.
Magnanimity: In all the steps taken so far to reach out to Nigerians from all sectors, he has shown that he is not a leader who knows it all. He consults all and sundry and calls for the best way to move Nigeria forward. Almost all Nigerians in Thailand right now feel good about one another and are now coming together to reason out how the apparently damaged image of Nigerians in Thailand can be corrected. Just like Mahatma Gandhi, the ambassador has chosen to pursue a "follower-centric" ambassadorial model. We must now avoid all sorts of illegalities.
Openness: Nothing motivates followers more than creating the atmosphere that suggests that you appreciate their ideas; that is what the new ambassador has done. He went as far as suspending all forms of judgment while paying greater attention to the needs of all Nigerians in Thailand. His approach builds communal admiration and confidence between the Nigerian Community in Thailand and the Nigerian Embassy in order to complement each other’s vision.
Creativity: The ambassador is gradually directing Nigerians towards the right path namely keeping to the rules and regulations of the country of residence; behaving in manner typical of those with the knowledge of international responsibility and fulfilling the pledges in our national anthem. For the ambassador to have achieved this most difficult task, one can notice that he has all that it takes to think differently or to think outside of the box. For me he is an ambassador with good sense of creativity. We pray that he will continue in this way.
The secret behind his good attitude: There is secret behind any successful leader. The new Nigerian Ambassador to Thailand has serviced successfully in various sectors and organizations. In order of education, he has a Master Degree in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, Georgia, Atlanta, USA, a Master Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, a Certificate in International Relations, Law and Diplomacy, Foreign Service Academy, Lagos, Nigeria and B.Sc. Political Science (Second Class Upper Division), University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Conclusion: From the above qualities, it is very clear that what Nigerians in Thailand needed was nothing but a career ambassador and an experienced leader who will not only look at the problems from the diplomatic point of view but from national point of view. Nigeria is a country full of human resources but these resources have not been fully harnessed because of leadership mess. If all Nigerians in Thailand should use the past to plan for a better tomorrow as requested by the new Ambassador, we shall be on our way to rebranding, repositioning and correcting all the negative images we have allowed ourselves and non- Nigerians to place on us. We must embrace this marriage of reconciliation and unity or we will be ruined forever in Thailand. Let all those who thrive in illegal businesses like 419, drug related business and illegal visa issues stop! If we all cooperate with the new leader there is no doubt that Nigerians in Thailand will Smile in the land of Smiles.
Emmanuel Nweke Okafor is a Nigerian lecturer in Siam University Thailand. He is presently a supervisor in the Language Laboratory Center in Siam University. He is also a graduate student in Masters of Peace Studies and Diplomacy in Siam University Thailand. He can be contacted vis his email address firstname.lastname@example.org
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