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Indonesian ambassador promotes business, cultural tourism in West Africa
For any country to exist in the comity of nations and to effectively further and widen the interest of its citizenry, it must be a player and an active participant in international politics and economy.
Since no country is an island and nations have learnt a bitter lesson from Great Britain which gloated in the early 18th Century in what it called splendid Isolation, believing that it could do it alone without interacting with any other state, but which the invention of the aero plane and telephone put a lie on, nations have designed the concept of ambassadorial posting and representation in other countries.
In fact, before the building of strong nation states and the advent of corporate ambassadorial posting, history had it that the old Benin kingdom maintained a resident ambassador in far away Portugal, while the Portuguese had a foreign mission in Benin.
The essence is, among others, to protect the interest of each state or nation, which include promoting trade and security, maintaining access to resources, facilitating cultural ties and protecting the lives of citizens and advanced by facilitating any course that may be beneficial to their country.
Whoever is the ambassador must be able to convey the president’s goals to representatives of the host nation’s government. Sometimes, they are called upon to negotiate agreements on behalf of the president. Ambassadors are responsible for assessing the political climate in their host country and analyzing important events.
And because of these vital roles which ambassadors or Consulate–Generals perform, serious nations and states always go for credible people with integrity, honorable pedigree, refined candour and gait when it comes to the appointment of ambassadors who are to be sent on foreign missions as the eyes, the ears, the body and leg of that country wherever they are posted to. The advancement of their countries’ interest is expected to be paramount in their hearts.
Hence, the post is not for the boys. And in those days, the boys didn’t get nominated and appointed as ambassadors. It was a reserved post for the deep, the wise, the respected, the intelligent, the enlightened, the humble and the distinguished.
But those were good years gone by.
The situation has gone awry in this century when persons and people of shady integrity who are of bereft of ambassadorial conduct, carriage and mannerism are being posted out to represent their countries.
Some of the ambassadors being posted to Nigeria and being sent out in recent times are lacking in wanting of some of these attributes.
Some don’t even know the Ambassadorial Charter which stipulates expectations from them in their host countries vis-a-vis their countries’ interest.
There are some ambassadors who have not stepped beyond Abuja and Lagos, not because of any threat or danger but simply because they don’t comprehend what they are supposed to be doing.
Some of them believe that all what they should do is only to meet minds with the president of their host countries; dine, wine and merry with the foreign affairs officials, and sell visas.
Some even hanker after contracts and inaugurate companies which import and exports goods and services, thereby neglecting the primary responsibility of being sent out as ambassadors.
Some even detest their host countries and help a lot in mis–informing their home governments, which usually leads to the issuance of wicked and unnecessary travel advisories against host countries.
Instead of them to facilitate political stability and accelerate development by steering clear of issues that heat the polity, they revel in sponsoring malevolent voices and stoke the embers of disunity and disharmony.
But there are a few among the lot who possess the charisma, the aura and the carriage of a quintessential ambassador.
They pursue the ambassadorial charter with all their strength, might, power and God-given attributes.
They daily labour and go about establishing perfect relationship between their countries and the hosts, exploring every given opportunity in festering bi-lateral positivity’s between their countries and the hosts.”
They help in engendering peace, economic development, facilitate infrastructure, and stimulate cultural and tourism linkage for better understanding and mutual co–existence.
One of the crop of these rare ambassadors who believes that his major reason why he was sent to Nigeria is not to eat, wine and make merry with president and foreign affairs officials but to protect the interest of his country, to lubricate the relationship between the two countries; to establish and expand a flourishing business and cultural-tourism symbiotic engagement between Nigeria and his country is His Excellency, Sudirman Haseng, the Indonesian Ambassador in Nigeria.
Realising that his country and Nigeria have many things in common, via multi–languages, ethnic–religions and cultures, he immediately set an agenda which will mutually benefit the two countries.
While some of his counterparts sit down in their cozy and luxurious offices in Abuja and Lagos, HE Haseng believes that sitting in the comfort and opulence of his office would not serve the interest of Indonesia adequately and expose what it has and which can be tapped for mutual benefits. He decided to sell Indonesian business and cultural tourism assets to Nigerians, Beninese, Togolese and Ghanaians
HE Haseng believes this could be effectively and better achieved not by inviting them to his office or residence in Abuja but by taking the gospel according to Indonesian business and cultural – tourism assets directly to Lagos, Ghana, Togo and Republic of Benin.
He thus designed and packaged a “Safari Business and Cultural Trips to Lagos, Cotonou, Lome and Accra, from 8–12 July 2012” for members of the Indonesian community in Abuja and Lagos.
Unlike other some ambassadors who cannot dare travelling by road in Nigeria, believing that Nigeria is not safe, HE Haseng has been going around Nigeria by road and the Safari Business and Cultural trip could, thus, not be different.
Rather than lumping over 30 Indonesian Embassy Staff and seven of their friends into an aircraft enroute Lagos – Cotonou - Togo, HE Haseng fetched for a Nigerian Coach provider – ABC Transport Company which provided a luxurious coach to ferry the tourists to Lagos.
According to HE Haseng “Nigeria is a beautiful country to behold. You can only appreciate it better when you travel by road. I am here to serve the interest of my country and align it with that of Nigeria for mutual benefit. You will agree with me that it will be preposterous for me not to know and appreciate the geographical configuration of the country which I have to align my country’s interest with. I have to know the people well in their natural habitat, appreciate them and get a first class knowledge of the country. And, also, I believe that my staff too should see the countryside, relate with the people and appreciate them well. That is why we have been using the road in almost all our journey.
And Allah has been merciful on us.”
The Abuja – Lagos trip was very interesting, as it afforded some of the Indonesians to know Kogi, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Lagos states.
Kukuh Dedi Djayadi, Second Secretary for Economic Affairs said “We were happy to have come to Lagos by road. It was a nice and everlasting experience for most of us seeing and appreciating the countryside. The journey also made us to be more conscious that Nigeria and Indonesia has a lot in common. We also experienced a four-hour traffic chaos between Shagamu and Lagos, which was due to a religious event. But in all, we were happy to know Nigeria better than before.”
Watch your conduct, Ambassador charges Indonesian Community in Lagos
The first leg of the Safari business and cultural tourism trip was held at the No 6, Anifowose, Victoria Island, Sunday 8 July 2012, and residence of the Indonesian Ambassador where the Indonesian community in Lagos hosted the Ambassador and his entourage from Abuja on Sunday evening.
He Haseng explained to the Indonesian why the trip to Lagos, Cotonou and Lome was a necessity “We are not here for sight – seeing and I am not sent to Nigeria just for the fun of it but to advance the cause of Indonesia as it will benefit us and Nigeria and West Africa. The business and cultural trip will expand and strengthen the relationship between us and the countries. It is further engendering growth, development, harmony, understanding and cultural appreciation for peace and love between us and the three countries.”
He, however, charged the Indonesians to “be of good conduct and respect the laws of Nigeria. You are the real ambassadors of Indonesian in Nigeria. Your conduct is the prism to be used to tell what we are in Indonesia. Hence, you must behave well and show the light in you so that Nigerians would love to be Indonesians.”
HE Haseng also called on Indonesians in Nigeria to “always pray for the peace and stability in Nigeria. It is when Nigeria is at peace that we could all realize and bring into fruition, our dreams and aspirations in coming to Nigeria.
After the admonishing of the Indonesians, the cultural values which the team would be celebrating in Cotonou and Lome was put on the stage. The interesting part of it was the linkage and adaptation of Indonesian culture with that of the countries to be visited.
According to HE Haseng, “The culture of the people is the soul of their existence. When you appreciate other people’s culture, values and norms, they will not only appreciate yours but respect you and have confidence to do business with you, believe in you and see you as a true friend.”
The Sunday evening was memorable, as it was filled with fun, food, dance and songs.
On Monday, 9 July, 2012, in the spirit of the Safari, HE Haseng was fully engaged in business meetings and discussions with notable Nigerian businessmen and women in Lagos. This was done in conjunction with Mr Pontas Tobing, Director, Indonesia Trade Promotion Centre, and Lagos.
Road to Cotonou
In the early hours of Tuesday, the ABC Transport coach was at the Indonesian Embassy for the onward journey to Cotonou, which was made even more pleasurable by the efficiency of personnel on board. Pius Akaisiki, the driver and Emeka, the protocol officer were so efficient, polite and courteous.
The trip was made so interesting not only because HE Haseng, together with his wife and children were in the same bus with the others but with the affection and warmth which, Her Excellency Dian Sudirman Haseng, the wife of the ambassador, showed on all.
There was no dull moment as the occupants of the buses were fully entertained with foods, fruits and biscuits.
At the Benin Republic border post
Immediately the group crossed to the Republic of Benin, the ambassador and his entourage were given a presidential treat.
There were two Jeep escort cars with a siren- blasting gendarme power bike, two other lovely Jeeps waiting to convey the ambassador and his wife to Cotonou.
Madame Modukpe Roumane Toukourou, Consul Honorarie, Indonesian consulate in Benin, had come with her officials to receive the visiting Ambassador and his delegate.
Without much ado, Consul Honorarie Modukpe Toukourou led the Indonesian delegate to a Chinese restaurant in Cotonou where they had a full blast of well prepared Chinese cuisine and latter took the guests to Azalai Hotel de la Plage – the newest four star-hotel in the City.
The Indonesian Ambassador is a very cool, calculated, organized and highly strategic personality. He skillfully planned the safari business and cultural trips compactly so that the best would come out of it.
The strategy he employed was to schedule visits to government officials, business talks and meetings of the business group through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the day and exposing these dignitaries to a rare display of Indonesian culture and value in the evenings.
This was used and strictly adhered to in Cotonu and Togo.
One of the virtues which HE Haseng displayed throughout the business and cultural trip was his sense for time and did not negotiate time for scheduled appointment.
“Indonesia is haven for business”
At Cotonou, the business meeting at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry was a heavy success and HE Haseng emphasized the need to shore up business interaction and engagement between the two countries and showed the video promotion of the next Indonesia Trade Expo coming in October.
The video showed the 10 componenst which are the major business contents of the expo with over 40 other ancillary products of trade.
HE Haseng told the merchant “I am confidently exposing the multi – various business opportunities which abound in Indonesia. It is a heaven for business men and women who want quality goods and expert services. You will not regret venturing or attending the coming EXPO.”
This discussion was blessed with a mini – exhibition of some products and articles of trade being produced and manufactured in Indonesia by. This segment which was successfully coordinated by the duo of Mr. Pontas Tobing, Director, Indonesia Trade Promotion Centre and Kukuh Dedi Djayadi, Second Secretary for Economic Affairs Indonesia Embassy in Nigeria led the introduction of over 65 companies and corporate entities which signified and expressed interest in having business deals with Indonesia and also attend the expo coming up in Jakarta in October this year.
Speaking after the business interaction, Marcel Aplogan,CEO, Negoser International Sarl, Togo, said: “ I am not only impressed by what the Indonesian Ambassador in Nigeria has come to do in Cotonou today, but also well blessed.
It has exposed us to some products which we never knew were being manufactured and produced in Indonesia. For instance, the fertilizer which has been described as the best in the market is made in Indonesia . I am grateful for this opportunity and I will use, seize and utilize the best of it. I am sure I and my other five friends would be attending the EXPO in Jarkata come October.”
Thus, this successful business conference paved the way for a glorious evening at the ball room of Azalai Hotel, where the Indonesians dazzled the Beninese with the Angklung musical instrument which was used to render the country’s national anthem.
At the ball room, the Indonesians spoilt the guests with their variety of foods and fruits, which some of the guests commended.
Most importantly, the Beninese business groups were fascinated by the cultural display of the visiting Indonesians, who appeared colorful in their costumes and passed vital messages with each of their presentations.
Madame Toukourou, Indonesian Honorary Consul in Togo, appreciated the guests and special dignitaries which included the ambassadors of Netherlands, Japan, China and France and sundry businessmen, merchants in Cotonu and commended HE Haseng for the initiative of visiting and spreading “the gospel according to the business and cultural tourism of Indonesia” in Cotonou.
She presented a beautiful cake which, according to her, was “to mark the very day when Ambassador Haseng brought the goodness of Indonesia to the Republic of Benin.” This was greeted with loud applause by the guests inside the ball room.
After the presentation of the cake, HE Haseng invited all guests to join him in the cutting of the cake which he said signified “the revitalisation of the relationship between Indonesia and the business community in Cotonou in particular and the country in general.”
After the cake had been cut and shared, HE Haseng invited everyone inside the ballroom to join him to dance the popular Poco – Poco – dance of Indonesia.
As the poco – poco dance was on, the guests and dignitaries took their leave one after the other, until there remained only the visiting Indonesians who were congratulated by their ambassador for having a successful business and cultural tourism trip in Cotonou.
HE Haseng praised Allah, the most beneficent, the merciful, for the day and asked for his protection and guidance for the trip to Lome the next day.
We want improved Togo–Indonesia business relationships
The trip to Lome on Wednesday 11 July 2012 was with ease, as Mr. Iroko K Armand, the Honorary Indonesian Consul in Togo, had also perfected a grand- reception for the Indonesian Ambassador and his delegate at the border.
Just like what happened in Cotonou, the convoy of the visiting ambassador was heralded by a siren-blowing policeman on a power bike and was led straight to China Town Chinese Restaurant, where a buffet of sumptuous meals was laid on the table.
From the restaurant, the convoy headed for Ibis Hotel, old but still shining and maintaining the international standards of its brands – Accor. And by 3 ‘O’clock, HE Haseng and some members of the delegate were at the Togo Chamber of Commerce and industry’s office for the business parley of the day.
At the conference hall of the Togo Chambers of Commerce and Industry which was filled to the brim, HE Haseng told the members that “This is the second time we are having this kind of parley. And we noticed that there has been tremendous increase in business relationship and patronage in a two – way affair between Indonesia and Togo. We are not only to sustain this but to expose other areas of business opportunities which are just emerging in our country.”
He pointed out that Togo remains a credible trading partner of Indonesia with good port facilities and having close access to Niger, Mali,Senegal and Gambia.
“We cannot but lubricate these routes with good products and services.
The ambassador remarked that “We are happy to inform you that the cordial bi–lateral relationship between Indonesia and Togo has led to the increase in the volume of trade from 52 million dollars to 92 million in the last four years.
This,we want to jerk up by a hundred fold.”
Haseng revealed some of the business opportunities waiting to be tapped at the Business Expo scheduled to hold in Jarkata come October, the video clips of which was shown to the enthusiastic guests.
In his response, the president of the Chambers Mr Jonathan, applauded the Indonesian ambassador for doing that which was expected of him with passion, commitment and utmost patriotism, which he said rubbed off positively on the host countries.
He assured the ambassador of his readiness to galvanise and mobilize his members not only to increase their business patronage of Indonesian products, good and services but to attend the next Indonesian expo in large numbers.
The representative of the Minister of Trade, Mr. Mensah, described the visit of the ambassador thus: “This is great, it is a good concept of driving a country’s profile and build everlasting economic and cultural relationship. It is good for the trade and business sector, while it will facilitate harmony and better understanding of cultural values.
Mr Pontas and Djayadi were overwhelmed by the response of members of the Togo Chamber of Commerce when they displayed samples of some products manufactured and produced in Indonesia.
According to Pontas, “I have to thank the ambassador for this initiative which has helped in promoting Indonesia, its people, its culture and products. I am very proud of him. I am also happy that many business oriented people from Togo and Cotonou would be attending the Expo coming up in October in Jarkata.”
With the success recorded at the Togo Chambers of Commerce, the Indonesians geared up for this cultural night.
Allah definitely answered HE Haseng prayer like he did the previous night in Cotonou, as everything went well at Lome. Even rain was kept in its pouch that evening as the foyer of Ibis Hotel was decorated and set for the guests who came in their multitudes.
The Togolese could not but gave a standing ovation to the Indonesians who used the Angklung,a musical equipment fashioned out of bamboo having all the notes, tenor and bass, in singing their national song.
The ambassador said: “We thank you. This is one of our stories. The story of a real unity in diversity. The story of how we can live together despite our multi – differences, the story of how we can explore these multi – differences for economic benefit and sustenance.”
This also commanded another round of applause from the guests.
The Indonesians gave out their best, using dances and songs to convey messages of peace, brotherhood, economic prosperity, unity and harmony.
The peak part of the night which made the guest so excited and ecstatic was when the wife of HE Haseng, Dian, took the microphone and rendered a love song, while her son, Askar, was playing the guitar.
The night was so interesting, thrilling and exciting, as there were more food to eat, more drinks to gulp and evergreen memories to remember.
The journey back home commenced from Lome with a stopover at the Indonesian Consulate in Cotonou where Mrs Toukourou and her husband, made a table full of food for the departing guests, HE Haseng could be likened to someone who, after accomplishing a arduous task, relaxed and gave praise to Allah for giving him the grace to represent his country well.
And honestly, this was exactly what he did.
The Safari Business and Cultural trip conducted by His Excellency Sudirman Haseng, the Indonesian Embassy to Nigeria to Lagos, Cotonou , Lome was not only memorable but cultivated tremendous goodwill and better friendship which cannot be quantified in terms of gold and silver for the country called Indonesia and its wonderful people. It was a grand success.Share