Abuja has denied a visa to former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, who was to be a guest at the third graduation of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, owned by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Sources at the AUN, where Campbell is a member of the governing board, said his visa application was subjected to frustrating delays until it became impossible for him to come to Nigeria for the convocation.
Campbell, who left the country a few years ago after completing his tenure, has been in the news of recent over his critical views on Nigeria and what he described as its fragile political system, including the zoning of political offices, and the Presidential vote last month.
Before the election, Campbell never hid his disdain for the zoning arrangement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In one instance, he called Nigeria a failed state which would disintegrate by 2015.
After the poll, adjudged by the international observers as free and fair, Campbell wrote a damning report that it was not devoid of rigging which normally takes place at collection centres
Abuja often dismisses him as a prophet of doom.
Regardless, Damian Agwu, the Director of Public Communications at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said on Monday Campbell “Did not meet the requirements for an entry visa. If he had met the requirements, he would have been granted a visa.”
President Goodluck Jonathan also on Monday directed a review of Nigeria’s foreign policy to reflect current realities.
He gave the directive at a meeting with the Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations, chaired by former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku.
After 50 years of independence, he said, it is time to review Nigeria’s foreign policy, in line with modern realities and international developments.
Jonathan concurred with the Council that the recent successful, transparent and credible elections have elevated the country’s democratic credentials in the international community, and he would ensure even better elections in 2015.
“From 2007, we committed ourselves to credible elections by setting up the Mohammed Uwais Committee, and this is the result of those efforts,” he stated.
Jonathan expressed appreciation to the Council for its consistent and credible advice, and for congratulating him on his electoral victory.
Jonathan also received letters of credence from five new Ambassadors, during which he pledged to prioritise the strengthening of economic relations with the rest of the world.
The new Ambassadors are Nyahuma Obika (Trinidad and Tobago), Alvaro Aguilar (Spain), Ali Suleiman (Ethiopia), Alain Nyamitwe (Burundi), and Issa Ibrahim (Chad).
Jonathan disclosed that Nigeria will “in the next four years pay special attention to the improvement and strengthening of economic ties with our partners in the international community, as a foundation for stability and growth of our country.”
He told Obika that Nigeria is interested in cooperation in the oil and gas sector, while he welcomed the proposal for energy cooperation with Spain, presented by Aguilar.
All the new envoys congratulated Jonathan for “winning a well-conducted national election” and assured him of the cooperation and support of their countries in the efforts to strengthen economic, social, and cultural relations.