Somaliland: Government in Diplomatic FAUX PAS in Its Relation with Nigeria after Obasanjo Meeting


L-R Foreign minister Behi Younis Olesugun Obasanjo and Hirsi Ali after Addis Ababa meeting

By: Hassan Mohamed

Somalilandsun – The recent meeting of the Somaliland Foreign Minister, the Minister of the Presidency with the former President of Nigeria General Obasanjo left this writer to wonder a few things.

It is worthwhile and very rewarding at times to court former heads of state. In order to get your government’s goals and objectives across it is wise to use informal channels. These meetings can have enormous benefits and the government of Somaliland should be lauded for using these methods.

Foreign relations call on any government to do its homework, due diligence requires that you do at least the bare minimum research on what is going on in the country of the former President or any dignitary at any venue. The government of Somaliland commited a diplomatic faux pas in its relation with the government of Nigeria.

The meeting with the former President of Nigeria was a worthwhile exercise in futility. I assume Somaliland’s foreign ministry was not aware that former President Obasanjo is figuratively a persona non grata with the current Nigerian President and his government.

Somaliland team at Addis Ababa meeting with Obasanjo

What the Somaliland foreign ministry was not honed in on was a scathing letter written by Former President Obasanjo in which he was very critical of the President and the present government of his country.In response, the President of Nigeria took it as a great affront to his stewardship of Nigeria.

The point of this writer, is when you are appealing to a nation for mutually beneficial cooperation, you do not have a public meeting with a man who just insulted the head of that nation. A cursory glance at the newspapers and websites would have been enough for the Somaliland Foreign Ministry to find this out.

Alaa Mahad Leh

Guul Somaliland

Hassan Mohamed