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Why I’m successful in Nigeria, by U.S. diplomat


Jeffrey J. Hawkins, Jr. U.S. Consul General Lagos, Nigeria

Jeffrey J. Hawkins, Jr. U.S. Consul General Lagos, Nigeria

OUTGOING United States Consul-General in Lagos, Jeffrey Hawkins said that he was successful in Nigeria because there is such a receptive audience in the country. Also, there is such a deep communality of purpose between Nigeria and America.

Speaking at a send-off reception in honour of the outgoing diplomat in his residence in Lagos on Tuesday Hawkins said, “Notwithstanding the fact that we are not the same, we don’t come from the same origin necessarily, we don’t see everything the same way, we have disagreements on some profound level, Nigeria and United States are partners in real way. I am successful because I have got to channel that. I am so proud of that.”

Hawkins, who now has a new post as US Ambassador in Central African Republic, said that the tour has deepened his faith.
“I am not a particularly spiritual person. Nigerians are deeply spiritual people and I have learnt so much from so many people of faith here. I have so many memorable experiences including from a young lady with a picture with our assistant secretary that I really like, and standing in front of 100, 000, or 200, 000 people and talking to them of faith about my country.”

The outgoing diplomat added that all the conversation that he had had with Muslim Imams, Christians pastors, priests in Nigeria had really helped him to understand Nigerians and their faith.

“I have been incredibly successful because I have touched peoples lives here. I have been an incredibly successful diplomat because I have made friends here and I just treasure that friendship so much. I am successful here because I have been presented with amazing opportunities and I think that I have taken some of them. We have a Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI). It existed before I got here. It wasn’t that I invented it. I saw something great in it. Likewise, the Niger Delta Legacy Engagement, I didn’t invent that. But I saw that it was important and good.”

Hawkins added that he has been successful because he had had fun in Nigeria. Which he said is really a great experience for him: “Why was I able to be super successful? Because of all of you, my wife made me so much better than what I will be on my own. I don’t think that many of you see all the things that she does for me and for you. She knows what all those things are.”

He recalled that he usually had to dress in Nigerian clothes to attend parties. “I have been successful because of the Public Affairs Section, because of his leader, Dehab Ghebreab, who is my friend, my sister and my mentor. We have spent a lot of time together. I deeply appreciate that. I am successful because of the work that Rhoda Watson has done as an incredibly effective public communicator. That presents a wonderful face for the consular. I am successful because of Joke Omotunde, Temitayo Famutimi, Ayo Durodola etc.”

He stressed that he worked with a remarkable public relations machine, which he described as a gift to everybody. “I am successful because of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) team. Some of you may know our Niger Delta folks. This is one of the incredible groups of talented young people that I have ever had occasion to work with.”

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