The Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) has expressed sadness over the demise of Amb. Edward Aina.
Aina served as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Ambassador to Japan and France before retiring from the Service.
Amb. Mbanefor Obiakor, Secretary General of the Association said in a statement that Aina, 72, who was an active member of the association, died on Friday in Abuja.
Obiakor said that the highly revered career diplomat, contributed significantly to the liberation of Southern African countries and the fight to ending apartheid in Southern Africa.
“He was at the Liberation Committee Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania for 8 years which gave him the rare opportunity to effectively mobilise and coordinate Nigeria’s assistance to the liberation struggle in Southern Africa.
“Indeed, he cultivated and maintained close relationship with the leaders and cells of the liberation movements from Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
“Which helped in no small measure in the attainment of independence by these countries and the end of apartheid in South Africa.
“A walking encyclopedia of Nigeria’s foreign policy exertions and achievements of the late 1970s and through the 80s in which he played an active part.
“Ambassador Aina was a quintessential diplomat, an icon and a role model in patriotism, discipline, good order and professionalism,” Obiakor said.
Giving a brief insight on his biography, Obiakor said that Aina was born on Jan. 2, 1947 in Odo-Ere, Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.
“A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, National Defence College and the University of Ibadan, he joined the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1971 and served meritoriously at home and abroad, often in sensitive and strategic positions.
“In retirement, he was a ranking and active member of ARCAN and was popularly referred as the Doyen of the Ministry’s Foreign Service Association otherwise called the E-Forum”.
Obiakor said that Aina was known for his sense of humour which often belied a stern disposition and would be greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues.
He described him as one who kept close touch with the members of the Foreign Service family even beyond those of his generation, to the admiration of all.