How Many Bottles Of Formula For A 7 Month Old A Diplomat Who Signed Up to Serve His Country: Part II

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A Diplomat Who Signed Up to Serve His Country: Part II

Tribute to Professor Austine SO Okwu, 92: A look at how a diplomat who signed up to serve his country ended up serving his nation. In his book In Truth for Justice and Honor: A Memoir of a Nigerian-Biafran Ambassador.

Part II

Ghana-Nigeria relations had reached a new low by the time SO arrived in Ghana in 1961. The foreign ministers of both countries came close to a fist fight. Nigerian politicians cried that dissidents trained in Ghana were plotting to oust them from power.

Ghana’s Prime Minister at the time, Kwame Nkrumah, was at the height of his power. Four years earlier, in 1957 – before any other African colony – Kwame and the Ghanaians had dethroned Britain. Now all those who wanted to throw off the British rulers or indigenous despots came to Ghana to learn from the masters.

While ten days of Man-of-War Bay training in Cameroon (prior to his two-year stint as a divisional assistant officer in Ahaoda, Nigeria) instilled mental toughness in Austine SO, his ten months in Ghana honed him. diplomatic skills.

For men like SO, every day was an opportunity to showcase Nigeria – not just to the host country Ghana, but to the world. Nigerian diplomats in the early sixties were driven by love for their country. Even when no one was looking, they were looking out for Nigeria’s interests.

Patriotism

Although Austine was appointed head of the office, he took it upon himself to wonder why the estimated cost of building an oil refinery in Alesa Elema, near Port Harcourt, Nigeria, was many times higher than a similar project in Tema, Ghana, where he served. After his hunch, the new diplomat alerted the Nigerian government, prompting them to renegotiate for a better deal.

Reparte with the prince

When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip came to congratulate Ghana on its infrastructure, the SO was among diplomats from other countries selected to meet the royal couple.

“People from Nigeria,” Phillip pointed out, nodding his head several times and holding out his right hand.

“Yes,” Austine admitted, “I’m sorry; the head of mission, Mr. Leslie Harriman, couldn’t be here today.

“How does it work, huh, you from Eastern Nigeria and Leslie from Western Nigeria?” asked Prince Phillip.

SO’s face lit up as she locked arms with Prince Phillip.

“If the English, Welsh and Scots can coexist under British rule despite several wars, Nigeria can learn to co-exist, borrowing from you,” replied Austine.

Never before had a prince been diplomatically challenged in this way. For a few seconds of silence, Phillip glanced at Elizabeth before finally crushing Austin with a two-minute handshake.

After SO’s successful rematch with the prince, she celebrated making a royal impression by attending a semi-diplomatic fanfare that evening. He wore his favorite white kaftan and matching trousers. On her head she wore a tight-fitting domed hat decorated with rose petals, leaving three-month-old black hairs at each temple.

Kenneth Kaunda, future president of Zambia

The crowd noticed Austine. Accra was buzzing with the extended moment the new Nigerian diplomat had had with the royal couple.

“You spent more time with the royals than anyone else,” said the short, pot-bellied, curious man. His Senegalese accent came through as he spoke.

“I had to defend Nigeria,” Austine said as he followed the train of visitors. Nearby, beer bottles, cooked meat, jollof rice and tits drawn on sticks lay on a wooden table covered with a brown cloth.

‘Great. I wish I was a fly hiding behind your hat and listening to your conversation with ——,” the Senegalese began to speak. Before he could finish, someone tapped his left shoulder and he turned.

“Meet a friend, Kenneth,” said the fat-bellied envoy.

“Kenneth Kaunda, from Zambia,” said the coal tar youth with a quick blink.

“Austine Okwu, Nigeria, Head of Office of the High Commission.”

The two men studied each other. They were like brothers of the same age, raised in different parts of Africa.

“I know, I know who you are,” replied the Zambian; “How can I contact Nnamdi Azikiwe or Tafawa Balewa?” A sense of urgency betrayed his youth.

Everyone wanted a piece of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Belewa. The British had appointed these men as Nigeria’s first president and first prime minister.

“Find a chicken,” said Austine to his brother, “and come to the house tomorrow at 6 p.m. Don’t fail.

Kenneth chose the pigs pulled on a greased stick. He bit off the first throat and ground it between his right molars. After giving him time to digest, Austine continued, “I’ve been reassigned to Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika. They want me to open a new mission in Nigeria.

“But Ghana is the center of the African revolution,” Kaunda argued.

“My country believes in me and this will be the first Nigerian diplomatic mission in East Africa.”

Kenneth Kaunda nodded silently. “I wish I could do something for my country to help them kick out the British colonialists, you really need to put me in touch with Azikiwe or Belewa.

End of Part II

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