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High hopes as Tanumo takes charge in the Caribbean

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High Commissioner to Jamaica, Haiti, Belize and Dominican Republic, Dr. Maureen Piribonemi Tanumo (left) during her visit to the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu


Even as she resumes office as the High Commissioner to Jamaica, Haiti, Belize and Dominican Republic, Dr Maureen Piribonemi Tanumo has begun to show evidence of being a round peg in a round hole.

Tanumo, who has also been appointed as the Permanent Representative to International Seabed Authority, seems prepared to prove her mettle. Indeed, the River State native has hit the ground running with activities that tend to be beneficial to Nigeria.

For two days (specifically Thursday, April 16 and Friday, April 17, 2021), she was in Osun State, where she visited the Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola and the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. The visit to the Ooni of Ife was part of activities to discuss issues of mutual relations and seek cooperation from the Ooni who is also a custodian of Yoruba, as well as African culture and traditions.  

Speaking on the occasion, Tanumo, who was spectacularly entertained by traditional dancers from Ile-Ife, thanked the Ooni for the invitation and the hospitality accorded her and her entourage, which she described as “overwhelming”.

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According to her, “Kabiyesi, I am thrilled to be here on your invitation as the representative of Nigeria in Caribbean and Jamaica on your invitation as the King of the black people.  

“The Caribbean would be happy and also look forward to be associated with the people of Nigeria, especially those from the South West, who were transported as slaves many years ago through Badagry in the South-West part of Nigeria and Calabar. 

“So, we have ancestors over there waiting for us to connect. As a woman who believes in tradition and culture of our people, I was glad when I was accorded with this invitation by the Ooni of Ife to come here to see and also know how to communicate to the people of the Caribbean. 

“I have seen and also been thrilled; I want to assure your Imperial Majesty that this story would go viral than want you ever think.  As an ambassador of the black people, I am assuring you that I will let people know that there are people known as people of Ife who hold the African culture in high esteem.  We would love to bring it to the global space for world to know. We are working for the cooperation of the two countries and for the people of Ife to get ready to visit Jamaica.’’ 

She further revealed that the Jamaicans had not been connected to Nigeria owing to lack of direct flights from both countries.

“But this is being looked into and will soonbe a thing of the past,” she added.

In his response, the Ooni, who expressed his joy over the visit by the ambassador-designate, assured her of total cooperation to make her job easy.

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The Ooni, who also christened the ambassador-designate ‘Adetamilore (which literarily means gift from the crown) further stated, “I am stating here that, as the representative of our country, you have been adopted as our daughter and we will continue to celebrate you and honour you.

“You are starting well; we are with you ; God is with you and you are going to be the greatest Nigeria’s ambassador ever. God will continue to guide you. Amen.’’Her visit to the governor of Osun State Gboyega Oyetola was also fruitful as the governor showed his appreciation and promised his utmost support. 

She consolidated her pre-departure visit with His Excellency, Governor Olajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos. The courtesy call was essential to enable seamless communication in the progressive plans of the Ambassador Tamuno to further expose the cultural splendor, heritage, trades and other Institutional aspect of Lagos and Nigeria to investors and the world.

His Excellency Governor Olajide Sanwo-Olu who mentioned his delight in the visit, said the visit was well timed and he will ensure that all avenues are exploited to make reality of the topics discussed.

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