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Democracy Day: X-raying President Tinubu’s 4-D foreign policy strategy

As Nigeria celebrates the 25th anniversary of unbroken democratic governance since the transition from military rule in 1999, foreign affairs experts are of the view that the President Bola Tinubu administration’s foreign policy strategy centered on Democracy, Development, Demography, and Diaspora (4-D) has achieved a lot, but more still needs to be done to realise the objectives the initiative seeks to achieve fully.
Explaining the four-dimensional space built by the Tinubu administration for the country’s foreign policy, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Amb. Yusuf Tuggar said the initiative aims to drive Nigeria’s overall development by ensuring that Nigeria’s strategic national interests are effectively represented worldwide as “Nigeria and indeed, Africa’s development, depends increasingly on a new line of vision.”
The 4-D strategy is one of the Tinubu administration’s visions to drive its Renewed Hope Agenda from the foreign scene.
Experts believe that since Tinubu took over the mantle of leadership from Muhammadu Buhari in May 2023, expectations have risen higher for the government to improve the nation’s age-long non-alignment in the international scene.
The analysts said while Nigeria’s foreign policy gained global commendation for tenuously promoting Africa’s interests at both the sub-regional and continental levels without compromising its position, the administration has yet to explore fully the potential of the 4-D foreign policy strategy to tackle internal challenges and embark on the journey toward economic transformation.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a serving diplomat who pleaded anonymity, decried the massive recall of envoys by the administration, but urged the government to put mechanisms in place for quick responses to emergencies during conflict situations especially when it affects Nigerians living abroad.
“My appointment letter to be an envoy stated three years, but the new government asked all of us to return home. No country in the world recalls all its foreign principals and envoys at the same time. It is never done.
“How do you expect the interests of Nigerians living abroad to be protected?
“So, it means we have willfully compromised our nationals to bear the brunt of whatever they get, wherever they are.”
Prof. Jonah Onuoha, a university teacher, said Nigeria’s foreign policy strategy has positioned the country on a pedestal to be visible globally and enjoy recognition as a sub-regional and continental hegemon with the right to speak and be listened to.
Onouha, a professor of International Relations and the Head of the Political Science Department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said Nigeria’s Afro-centric foreign policy posture “has offered the country worldwide visibility and recognition”.
According to him, Nigeria implemented this foreign policy thrust over the years through various programmes such as the anti-colonial struggle, anti-apartheid policy, promotion of peace and security, promotion of African unity and cooperation, and the implementation of technical aid cooperation with some African countries, among others.
Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Freeman told NAN that Nigeria’s 4-D foreign policy strategy has recorded remarkable feats under the Tinubu administration.
Freeman reiterated Israel’s commitment to working closely with the administration to support it in its quest to realise the mandate it has set.
“We are excited and happy to work with President Tinubu and his Renewed Hope Agenda.
“We’ll certainly key into that. We want to partner with him and we want to work with his government.
“Tinubu’s vision of a million new jobs in the digital economy is something we want to associate with and work with through the i-FAIR programme.
“We hope to announce that in the future. We are also excited to work with him on economic issues, agriculture, health, education – all of the different sectors – and certainly, we see a bright future for Nigeria and Israel.
“Together, we can achieve amazing things and we are excited about the future. Before now, there has been a clarion call for partnerships between Israeli and Nigerian security forces to tackle issues that pertain to lives and property.
“Now, not much has been done in that regard because the more efforts are made, the more they are being foiled,” Freeman said.
Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister at a public forum reiterated that the 4-D policy doctrine provides dynamic and unique concepts for the advancement of Nigeria’s relations with the outside world.
“The Tinubu 4-D policy aligns with the core vision of the ministry to effectively position itself as Nigeria’s window to the international community.
“Implementing the Tinubu 4-D policy will help create more opportunities to attract foreign direct investment.
“It will promote relevant awareness on the power of art and culture to foster understanding and cooperation amongst nations and promote the ministry’s effort at blending culture and diplomacy in repositioning Nigeria’s identity globally,” Tuggar said.
Dr Frank Onyekwelu, President-General of Nigerian Citizens Association South Africa (NICASA), said although the led administration’s 4-D foreign policy initiatives are good, more should be done to enable compatriots to work in tandem with the policies in tackling economic challenges.
Foreign affairs analysts agree that sustaining the gains made from the 4-D approach so far and making significant progress toward tackling poverty, insecurity, and other social challenges will require diplomatic dexterity and consistency in the implementation of the four-pronged strategy.
They restated the need for Tinubu administration to remain steadfast in ensuring the success of the policy as anything less could be considered a failure.

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