President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State have condoled with the family of late Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru. The President said he received with much sadness news of the death of Ashiru in South Africa, according to his Media Adviser, Dr. Reuben Abati.
“President Jonathan extends sincerest condolences to Ambassador Ashiru’s wife, children, other relatives, friends, associates, former colleagues and staff of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs as they mourn the exemplary diplomat who gave the most productive years of his adult life to the patriotic service of his nation. The President also assures them all of the fullest sympathy, solidarity and support of the Federal Government as they mourn Ambassador Ashiru who will also be long remembered and honoured as one of the very elite few, who after a long and very distinguished career as a Foreign Service Officer in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was recalled from retirement to serve as Minister and political head of the same ministry in recognition of his widely acknowledged leadership qualities and diplomatic skills”.
Nigeria, President Jonathan believes, will always owe the late Minister a huge debt of gratitude for his notable contributions, over many years, to the establishment of mutually-beneficial relationships with other countries where he served as diplomat and ambassador, and for the country’s many diplomatic successes in the international arena during his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“The President prays that God Almighty will comfort all who mourn Ambassador Ashiru and grant his gentle soul peaceful and eternal rest”.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, on his part, expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family, Government and people of Ogun State on the passage of Ashiru.
Ambassador Ashiru, who was appointed Foreign Minister by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and removed in a cabinet reshuffle in 2013, died on Saturday, November 29, 2014, in a South African hospital, where he had reportedly been hospitalized for three months. He was 66 years old.
Expressing shock and sadness in a condolence statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, the Governor recalled that the career diplomat was credited with revitalizing Nigeria’s presence in international diplomacy in the post-Olusegun Obasanjo era, saying he played a key role in the nation’s diplomatic initiatives within and outside the continent.
Also describing the late Foreign Minister as an astute player in international diplomacy, Fashola noted that Ashiru had a short but impactful tenure as Minister.
The Governor concluded that before being appointed Foreign Minister, Ambassador Ashiru had established himself in the diplomatic circle, serving as Third Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1972, Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea in 1991 and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, with concurrent accreditation to Lesotho and Swaziland in 2005.