Every country, including Nigeria, has this group of people who are trained to represent them and handle their affairs abroad called diplomats. Diplomats are sent to various countries all over the world to assist with the international relations of their home countries in other countries abroad.
If you find what diplomats do fascinating and find pleasure in visiting different places all over the world and meeting new people, then becoming a diplomat may be the best career choice for you.
It is important to note that it is not easy to become a diplomat in Nigeria, and you will have to meet stringent requirements, including educational requirements, language skills, effective communication and negotiation skills. However, it is not an impossible goal to achieve, and if you’re interested in becoming one, then all you need to know is outlined in this article.
Who is a diplomat?
A diplomat is someone who is appointed by the government of a country or state to represent that country or state in another country abroad in matters relating to treaties, sharing of information, trade, commerce, technology and international relations. The main role of a diplomat is to foster peace and friendly relations between two countries.
Duties of a Nigerian diplomat
Diplomats representing Nigeria abroad have a plethora of duties they must perform, which includes but is not limited to:
- Handling the country’s affairs abroad in their countries of assignment
- Protecting the image and interest of Nigeria and the citizens of Nigeria in their country of deployment.
- Promoting information, trade, commerce, technology and friendly relations.
- Promoting strategic agreements and treaties.
- Reporting information of national interest to Nigeria and advising the government on how to react to the information.
- Implementing any policy decided by the Nigerian government.
- Negotiating with the government of the country they are assigned to, and convincing them to comply with policies that will benefit Nigeria and Nigerians living in that country.
How to become a diplomat in Nigeria
1. Gain the relevant educational requirements
To become a diplomat, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree in political science, international relations or a course related to social science. This will help you build a foundation for the knowledge you need to succeed as a diplomat. Diplomats should be versatile in politics and master ways to relate with others. Getting a bachelor’s degree will be the first step to attaining this knowledge.
You may decide to pursue a postgraduate degree to broaden your knowledge and better your job prospects. It is not a requirement to become a diplomat, but having a postgraduate degree will better your chances of achieving your goal of becoming a diplomat.
Keep in mind that you will have to serve for one year in the NYSC just like every other Nigerian graduate. After your NYSC, you can then move to the next steps in becoming a diplomat.
2. Improve your language proficiency
To become an excellent diplomat you have to be well-versed in several languages. Your job will mostly involve negotiating and forming connections with other countries, so you need to be able to communicate effectively with them.
Since English is the most spoken international language, we are quite lucky as Nigerians. All you need to do is brush up on your English skills and perfect your grammar, then learn an additional language or two.
3. Attend the Foreign Service Academy
There are two foreign service academies in Nigeria which are located in Abuja and Lagos. It is a department of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is a must to attend one of these academies if you want to become a diplomat.
In the academy, you will be trained in the necessary skills and knowledge needed to become a diplomat. Your training will cover all aspects of public relations and negotiation including both theoretical and practical aspects.
While in the foreign service academy, you will be taught a wide range of skills and knowledge. They include the art of effective communication, effective use of the English language, computer skills, and teaching of UN-approved languages, like French, Arabic and Spanish.
4. Apply for jobs
Stay updated with the latest job openings in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and apply if there are any. You can apply through the Federal Civil Service Commission, and once you land the job, you’re now a diplomat.
If you can get a job with the UN, it is another route through which you can become a diplomat. It may not be easy to get a job with the UN, but you can start by volunteering.
It is important to note that the steps above will help you become a career diplomat. There is another route you can take, which will lead you to become a political diplomat. You can continue to work in the private sector after graduation and join a political party. If your political party is successful enough, then opportunities will come up for you to become a diplomat.
Becoming a diplomat in Nigeria requires the utmost patience and tenacity. You will be representing Nigeria abroad and may be forced to bear the brunt of discrimination against Nigeria and Nigerians. You are representing the country, so your attitude will reflect on the image of Nigeria, so a mighty load is put on your shoulders. A negative perception of you means a negative perception of Nigeria. You will need to maintain a high standard for yourself both in your training and your career to be able to succeed as a diplomat.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much are diplomats paid in Nigeria?
Diplomats are paid an average of N475,000 per month according to MySalaryscale.
What are the requirements for becoming a diplomat in Nigeria?
To become a diplomat in Nigeria, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 59
- Have no criminal record
- Have a proven record of good ethics and behaviour
- Possess the required skills needed to become a diplomat
- Show proof of good health
- Be a patriotic citizen of Nigeria
- Have no record of alcohol or drug addiction
Who constitutes diplomats in Nigeria?
Diplomats are classified into different groups of people who perform similar roles, they include ambassadors, envoys, ministers and charge d’affaires. Each position comes with increasing responsibilities and importance.
Where do Nigerian diplomats work?
Nigerian diplomats typically work in the Nigerian embassy or consulate in the country they are deployed.
What qualities are essential to becoming a successful diplomat?
To be successful as a diplomat, you must possess some important qualities including strong communication and negotiation skills, loyalty to your country, cultural sensitivity, adaptability, good character, problem-solving abilities, and a keen understanding of global politics and international relations.