Drawing from communal living in ancient South Africa, there was a popular expression that has remained evergreen in human interactions. It is, “Umntu, ngumntu ngabantu”, meaning a person is person through other people. This serves to remind humanity that even for one’s own achievements, someone has had to play a part, make a contribution or even some form of sacrifice.
Within the context of the world, the said expression further amplifies the significance of the concept of globalization which is a clear representation of interdependence among countries and the interconnectedness of world economies. What this presupposes is that the cause of what happens in one country could have ripple effects in other countries.
In essence, therefore, no country on its own, without the trade, contribution and interaction with other countries, can successfully make meaningful progress. It was against this backdrop that our nation’s founding fathers; a year after independence nurtured the idea that gave birth to the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in 1961.
The institute was established to create a platform upon which ideas can be fertilized on what direction Nigeria should take at any given time with regards to her foreign relations status. NIIA is a technical and specialized framework of foreign policy articulation and formulation in Nigeria. It was set up as a national institute for research on international affairs.
NIIA has evolved over the years as the federal government affiliated think tank on foreign policy. It has used its research tools to pursue its original mission by providing direction to Nigeria’s international affairs agenda.
By its mandate, the institute has been led by seasoned scholars and academics who are well grounded on foreign policy and diplomacy. At inception, Sir Adetokumbo Ademola was the pioneer chairman of the board of trustees. Subsequently, very brilliant scholars like Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Professor Ibrahim Gambari among others have served as Directors General of the institute. Until his retirement recently, Professor Bukar Bukarambe was the institute’s Director General.
In order to avoid a vacuum in leadership, in the absence of a substantive Director General, someone must take over the mantle in acting capacity. The standard regulation for a successor in acting capacity as Director General is clearly spelt out in the circular from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That a person is the most senior officer is not a sufficient condition to take-over as the Acting Director General of the institute.
The fundamental condition precedent to seniority is that an individual must come clean without blemish in character. That means apart from being the most senior officer, a person must not be serving or said to have just served any disciplinary action in the institute.
NIIA is the nation’s most critical foreign policy advisory organization. It goes without saying therefore, that anyone serving as the substantive or acting Director General must be above board in character. Such an individual must not be seen to have deficiency in integrity, transparency and accountability. It was on that score that the immediate past Director General, Professor Bukarambe acted strictly by the rules when he found Dr Efem N. Ubi who is on “CONRAISS 13” which is equivalent to Grade Level 15 in the core civil service, most suitable to hand over to as Acting Director General. Professor Bukar Bukarambe complied with the rules as stated in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs circular.
In view of his current Grade Level, Dr. Efem Ubi is equivalent to a Senior Lecturer in the university which makes him eminently qualified to lead the institute in the aforesaid stead. Suffice it to say that Efem Ubi has the requisite qualification to lead the institute at this auspicious time in history. He has the intellectual prowess, experience, exposure, composure, and character as well as the leadership acumen to take charge of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs.
Dr Ubi has 14years engagement under his belt as a senior staff of the institute. He is a thoroughbred scholar, teacher and researcher with core interest areas spanning international relations, strategic studies, public administration and political science. Over the years, he has successfully straddled between theory and practice in the field of foreign policy.
As a precocious child, Efem blazed through his academic sojourn with flying colours. He had been propelled by an undying passion and envisioned future in Nigeria’s foreign relations. Little wonder then that he chose to study and obtain a B.Sc(Hons) Degree in Political Science from the University of Calabar where he graduated in 1998. He further studied and obtained Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and M.Sc in International Relations and Strategic Studies (IRSS) from the universities of Calabar and Jos respectively.
Dr Efem Ubi notched his academic career with a PhD in Contemporary International Relations with regal ease from Jilin University, China in 2011. With a patent desire to foster his capacity in the international relations arena, Efemi Ubi had earlier obtained a Certificate in French Language from Ministry of Education-French Language Center, Calabar in 1996. He updated his skills in the language when in 2008 he obtained Certificate in Intensive French Language from Le Village Francais du Nigeria, Inter-Universitaire Nigeria d’Etudes Francaises.
Dr Ubi has also built his capacity in conflict management and resolution with Certificates in Conflict Analysis and Interfaith Conflicts Resolution respectively from The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Washington, DC in 2009. With numerous laurels and awards adorning his treasure chest including the prestigious United States International Visitors Leadership Award (2008), “Ambassador of Goodwill” of the State of Arkansas, United States of America (2008) and the 2015 Recipient of Foreign Talents of the Zhejiang Provincial Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, Zhejiang Province, China, Dr Efem Ubi has emerged as a highly sought after foreign policy expert.
Efem Ubi is a regular guest at both international and national television stations like Aljazera, NTA, Silverbird, Channels, Loveworld among others where he sits atop as foreign policy analyst. As an avowed researcher, Dr Ubi has numerous publications to his credit in both local and international scholarly academic journals.
He is a regular columnist in some local and international news tabloid like Financial Nigeria and has been interviewed by the Financial Times of London. Ubi is an opinion columnist in China Global Television Network where he analyzes African-China relations, Chinese politics and foreign policy, African political economy, international economics, governance and other burning issues on the global stage. Dr Efem Ubi is a resounding voice in international politics, global economy and foreign policy issues.
As an adept scholar and teacher, Dr Efem Ubi has acquitted himself well as an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Center for Nigerian Studies (CNS) Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University (IASZNU), China from 2017 to date. Between 2015 and 2016, Ubi was a Visiting Senior Scholar at the Institute of African Studies, Zhejiang Normal University (IASZNU), China.
He is holding the forte as a Wikistrat Senior Analyst at Wikistrat, Washington D.C, USA. Ubi is also a Senior Consulting Partner in Cardston Consulting, Edmonton, Canada. Dr Efem Ubi is a global citizen in every sense with many feathers on his cap. He has traversed the world in both personal and official engagements and has spread his tentacles quite admirably.
Dr Ubi is resourceful with monumental influence to get things done. With his influence and network, he has attracted grant funding from key stakeholders for some projects. Between September, 2015 to February, 2016 he attracted $10,000 from Zhejiang Provincial Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, Zhejiang Province, China for the funding of foreign talent introduction program.
Between April and September, 2015, he was the Country Consultant of the Humanitarian Dialogue (hd)/United Nations Development Program (UNDP) where he successfully executed a project on Perception Studies in Insecurity Factors and Violent Extremism in Sahelian Border Areas with a $50,000 grant.
In 2018, Dr Ubi attracted a $70,000 grant from the Chinese Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria for the successful organization of the Conference on Digital Economic Forum.
He is a member of some professional and international bodies. These include his membership of State Alumni (US Department of State – IVLP), US Exchange Alumni Association – USGEAA, Nigeria Society for International Affairs – NSIA among others.
Dr Efem Ubi has clearly proven his leadership and administrative mettles having been assigned as head of different divisions at the NIIA. His sterling administrative qualities were demonstrated creditably as Head, Division of International Economic Relations at the institute for almost 10years. Prior to his elevation as the Acting Director General, Dr Ubi was the Acting Director of Research and Studies of the institute.
Efem Ubi is naturally endowed with commendable interpersonal relationship skills. He is always calm, affable, reliable and dependable. His humility, perceptiveness, adroitness and sagacity apparently betray his humane disposition to life which is exceptional and legendary. Efem is a man of uncommon wit and wisdom. He values strategic communications and intellectual engagements which he has deployed successfully in his personal and official life. Dr Ubi is loyal to constituted authority and dutiful to his responsibilities. This is actually a reflection of his worldview.
Dr Ubi has his pedigree and ancestry in Cross River State. Pure and simple, he hails from Usmutong in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State. Efem Ubi is of the Ekoi’s extraction and the Cross River blood runs through the veins of this highly cerebral, amiable and renowned foreign policy expert.
Efem Ubi is married to his beautiful heartthrob, Connie and they are blessed with a lovely daughter. Like every human, Efem has had his twists and turns in life but at every point he has come out better and stronger.
From the foregoing, Dr Efem N. Ubi comes with many commendable feats and great strides to ensure a more progressive direction in Nigerian foreign policy agenda. He does fit the bill to wear this latest cap as the Acting Director General of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs.
Missang Oyama is a Public Relations Consultant and Social Commentator. He writes from Abuja. via firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets via @MissangOyama05.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Missang Oyama and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.