The Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (DTAC) says in advancing the big brother role to Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), it is deploying soft-power diplomacy to improve the standard of education
Its Director-General, Dr Yusuf Yakub, made this known while addressing Technical Aid Corps (TAC) Volunteers, Education Minister, University authorities and other stakeholders in Kampala, Uganda.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Nkem Anyata-Lafia, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the director-general on Thursday from Kampala, Uganda.
According to Anyata-Lafia, Yakub, said TAC remained an instrument of Nigeria’s foreign policy through which President Bola Tinubu’s administration wished to continue to deploy soft-power diplomacy to countries of ACP in line with his ‘4-D Agenda’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 4-D foreign policy initiatives of the president are; Democracy, Development, Demography and Disspora.
Yakub said enormous advantages were derived from the soft-power diplomacy over coercion in nation-to-nation relations.
He said that strong bilateral ties and relations had existed between Nigeria and Uganda even before the establishment of the Missions in both their capital cities.
Yakub reminded his diverse audience that Nigeria recognised early its immense potential in human and natural resources.
He said, “Therefore, it took an Afro-centric stance to contribute to the development of sister- African countries as well as countries with sizable black populations across other continents in what is generally known as South-South co-operation.”
Yakub added that the provision of manpower to such ACP countries was a deliberate move that was meant to not only bridge the gap in capacities lacking in those nations, but to develop the needed skills among such host nations towards the attainment of self-reliance.
He added, “Uganda and Nigeria have come a long way.I recall that the first Chief Justice of Uganda,Justice Udo Udoma, was an eminent Nigerian jurist from today’s Cross River.
“It is no wonder,therefore,that when the TAC Scheme came on board with the establishment of the DTAC in 1987, Uganda became one of the first countries to receive volunteers and benefit from the scheme in 1988.
“35 years after,I am happy to observe that we have continued to deploy quality volunteers to Uganda.
“These volunteers, from what we have gathered in the course of this visitation and from what University authorities have, specifically, told us are thriving.
“They have continued to discharge their duties with dexterity and knowledge and have been adjudged by all as worthy Ambassadors of the Nigeria, who have exemplified character, conduct and learning wherever they are currently serving, ”
Earlier, during interactions with the volunteers at the Nigerian Mission in Kampala, most of the 75 volunteers ranged from Senior Lecturers,Associate Professors and Professors.
Others are Faculty Deans,Heads of Departments and Directors of Schools in the four Uganda Universities.
They expressed appreciation to TAC scheme for providing them the opportunity to contribute to global development.
Also in attendance were; Vice-Chancellor of Kampala International University,Prof.Mouhamad Mpezamihigo,that of Canvendish University, Prof. John Mogisha as well as Associate Prof. Ismail Gyagenda of Islamic University in Uganda( IUIU).
Others were the representative of the Vice-Chancellor of Kabale University, who is also Dean , Faculty of Engineering in the institution, Prof.Moses N. Twesigye-Omwe, who lauded the commitment of the TAC volunteers to duty and professionalism.
The DTAC delegation was amazed at the level of encomiums poured on the TAC scheme volunteers in the four citadels of higher learning where they were currently serving.
Also, it stated that the authorities of the various schools recommited to receiving more volunteers apart from expressing the wish to retain some of them whose two-year service tenure was nearing completion.
While also visiting the Hon. Minister for Education and Sports, the DTAC delegation was elated to note that the Minister of State for Primary Education,Dr Joyce Kalucha, said she was also trained by the Nigerian TAC volunteers in its earlier years of establishment.
The Ugandan team comprises of the Minister of State, the Commissioner for Higher Education,Timothy Ssejjoba;the Director,Higher Education;Dr Sophia Museene and Mpyangu Andrew and Senior Assistant Secretary, among others, informed the Nigerian delegation of ongoing reforms in the Ugandan education sector.
The team requested support from DTAC in order to bridge the identified gaps in such areas as;Oil and Gas Engineering/Technology, Aviation Engineering/Technology, the Sciences, Artificial Intelligence, among others.
The DTAC delegation comprised of Amb.Mohammed Mohammed,Director of Programmes; Mr Idris Saidu, acting Director, Finance and Accounts, as well as Mrs Rahila Kaura, acting Director, Monitoring and Evaluation.
They also met with the Permanent Secretary, Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs,where commitment was also elicited for more collaboration, co-operation and strengthening of existing ties in areas relevant to the TAC Scheme.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria