Nigeria’s high commissioner to the UK, Ambassador Sarafa Ishola presents letter of credence.

NIGERIA’S high commissioner to the UK Ambassador Sarafa Ishola officially presented his letters of credence to the queen on Thursday making him the formal representative of the Federal Government of Nigeria in London.

Ambassador Ishola, who has been in office since May this year, could not present his papers earlier due to the coronavirus lockdown. However, with the easing of restrictions, he was able to physically go to Buckingham Palace yesterday morning where in line with tradition; he presented the letter of recall of his predecessor and his own letter of appointment.

In line with culture and convention, Ambassador Ishola and his wife were driven to Buckingham palace from the high commission in a horse cart. After being his audience with the queen, the high commissioner then entertained the diplomatic corps and the Nigerian community in central London.

To add to the occasion, Ambassador Ishola also celebrated his 61st birthday yesterday (Thursday), which made the day a very special and historic one for him. He now enters the history books as the 14th Nigerian high commissioner to the UK, joining an illustrious list that includes the likes of Matthew Mbu, Alhaji Abdul Maliki, Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe, Alhaji Sule Kolo, Osman Ahmadu-Suka, Uthman Yolanda, Major General Halidu Hananiya, George Edwin-Dove, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, Prince Bola Ajibola, Dr Christopher Kolade, Dr Dalhatu Tafida and Justice George Oguntade.

At the reception in the evening, guests who attended included the Commonwealth secretary general Baroness Patricia Scotland, the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Kate Osamor, Reverend Mother Esther Ajayi and the high commissioners to Jamaica and Cameroon. All the community organizations were also represented including the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (Canuk), the Nigerian in Diaspora Organization (Nido) and the Nigerian Council of Elders.

Canuk chairman, Ayo Akinfe, said: “We are having a double celebration today as now only is the high commissioner being formally accepted today but he is also celebrating his birthday. It has been quite a busy week for him as on Tuesday; we launched the new 64-page 10-year passport in London and now this.

“Ambassador Ishola came at a difficult time in the middle of the lockdown when the mission was shut and there was a huge backlog of passport applications. Thankfully, that backlog has been substantially whittled down now and this should spur all of us to make the system better and more efficient as we go forward.”

Among the UK community leaders present included Chief Adebayo Oladimeji, Otunba Mobolaji Falase, Dr. Boma Douglas, Alistair Soyode, Mike Abiola and Nido chair Henry Egenti. Entertainment was provided by cultural icon Ayan de First, with veteran disc jockey DJ Abass on the turntables.

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