Akwaaba Senator Musiliu Obanikoro
When new envoys present their letters of credence to leaders of their host countries, the events usually pass off silently. In Ghana, it is a Castle affair with the media giving the event some space in their newspapers and time on air.
Last weekend, some five envoys went through the drill of presenting their letters of credence.
One of the envoys means a lot to us as Ghanaians because of the special bond of friendship between his country and ours. Indeed the bond is steeped in history.
For sometime now, the Nigerian High Commission has been without an envoy because the oil rich country was going through the process of sending a replacement to the previous representative.
We are pleased that finally Senator Musiliu Obanikoro is a full-fledged representative of his country in Ghana, having been accepted by President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Our countries, as is well-known, were both British colonial territories fighting for the Crown in various campaigns.
Both countries were part of the West African Airways Corporation and even spent the same currencies until the status quo altered upon the attainment of nationhood.
President John Agyekum Kufuor got it right when he noted that Ghana and Nigeria are two countries whose input towards the stability of the West African sub-region cannot be over-emphasised.
The two have cooperated in various spheres. The peacekeeping missions in both Liberia and Sierra Leone are cases in point.
The Regular Officer Training School (ROTS), Teshie hosted the pioneer officer corps of the Nigerian military and Ghana’s, prior to their movement to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst for further training and eventual commissioning.
Indeed the nucleus of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Police was the Captain Glovers 600 Hausa soldiers brought into the Gold Coast by the British.
When they were disbanded, most of them acquired lands and settled down here. Their descendants have already been assimilated into the Ghanaian community as part of the population, bequeathing to us the rich Hausa language which today is one of our local languages.
The foregone underscores the extent of relationship between the two countries.
The Nigerian envoy is coming to Ghana at a time when we need his country most. We have struck oil and would need every available counseling and support from Nigeria as we join the club of oil producers.
Nigeria has been extracting the black gold for over five decades now and so has a wealth of experience in that regard.
We shall occasionally knock on the doors of the continental giant for pieces of counseling and even technical support.
Indeed we might even seek training programmes for some of our students who show interest in pursuing petroleum engineering programmes in Nigerian institutions like the Petroleum Training School.
Nigeria has been responsive to our oil supply problems especially in the face of the current high cost of crude oil.
Under the Obasanjo regime, we enjoyed an unbridled support in the supply of oil under flexible terms. At a point when oil supply had dwindled to a very low level, desperate Ghana turned to Nigeria and we were not let down.
The gesture did not stop with the exit of the General from Aso Rock. In fact it has waxed stronger even under the new administration.
It is our prayer and hope that Senator Obanikoro would work towards enhancing the bond of friendship and brotherliness between the two countries.
As the new envoy settles down to work, we assure him the traditional Ghanaian hospitality and say “akwaaba” and wish him a nice duty tour.