Nigeria’s oldest career diplomat dies at 93

Nigeria’s oldest career diplomat Omotayo Ogunsulire, has been reported dead on Monday, 20 November, 2023 at the age of 93, and was one of the first 12 young diplomats hired into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1957.

Penpushing reports that the deceased who was born into the famous family of Ogunsulire of Ondo town of Ondo State on 12 November 1930 was survived by his wife, Soba Ogunsulire, and three children: Kola, Yinka, and Ronke

The late Ogunsulire specialized as a diplomat for the Francophone world, serving in Paris and several Francophone African countries, including the Republic of the Congo where he was Charge d’Affairs during the era of Patrice Lumumba until his assassination.

Penpushing further reports that he also served as the first Executive Secretary for the Lake Chad Basin Commission, which was founded in 1964, to ensure the sustainable and equitable management of Lake Chad and other shared water resources.

The deceased was the head of the Africa Department till his retirement in 1976, he entered the prestigious Ondo Boys’ High School, Nigeria’s first community secondary school, in 1943, after completing elementary education at St Stephen’s Primary School in Ondo.

Penpushing also reports that after obtaining with flying colours the Senior Cambridge School Certificate in 1948, he worked briefly in Lagos as a telex operator and at the Customs and Excise before proceeding to Fourah Bay College of Durham University in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he was for two years the President of the College’s Foreign Relations Club.

The late ambassador as a young diplomat, accompanied Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and General Yakubu Gowan on several trips to Francophone countries of West and Central Africa as a specialist in French and Francophone culture.

Penpushing reports that after his retirement from diplomatic service in 1976, Ogunsulire started a second career in banking, as Deputy General Manager of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), and later rose to the position of Executive Director of the Bank.

The Ondo State born Ogunsulire during his tenure at the bank and because of his language expertise, he served as President of the West African Bankers Association for two years before his second retirement in 1986.

Penpushing further reports that while in the bank, he got involved in the establishment of the Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry and later became the pioneer chairman of the organization, after serving on the Board of Alliance Francaise de Lagos as Treasurer, he also served as vice president of the alliance for many years.

The Nigeria, the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN), at the 60th Independence anniversary celebration honoured some of its prominent members for their distinguished service to the nation, and Ogunsulire was among five retired diplomats honoured in the Platinum category

Penpushing also reports that that early this year Ogunsulire with his wife hosted the 2023 meeting of the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN), the event which seems to be a valedictory mood to the world of diplomacy and international relations.

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