Tinubu’s Cabinet: The Top 10 Round Pegs in Round Holes – YUSUF TUGGAR

YUSUF TUGGAR – (Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Until his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs in August this year, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar was the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany for five years, a position he occupied until his appointment. In a way, Tuggar’s appointment and assignment to this portfolio was like a promotion in the regular public service career – from Ambassador to Foreign Affairs Minister. It is vintage President Tinubu’s habit of placing round pegs in round holes. Tuggar will now manage Nigeria’s foreign affairs at a higher level, worldwide instead of in only one country.

In his new assignment, Tuggar is charged with overall responsibility for executing the mandate of the ministry which is to manage Nigeria’s foreign policy decision-making and implementation processes in Nigeria. He is also responsible for the external promotion of Nigeria’s domestic vision and ideal.

As Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, one of the biggest ambassadorial portfolios, for half a decade, Tuggar has already had substantial tutelage in the demands of his new office. He played a key role during the 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He also facilitated the state visit of the former German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to Nigeria in August 2018.

In March 2020, Tuggar attended a meeting held with Siemens in Germany over projects in the Nigerian power sector. Nigeria’s delegation was led by the then Chief of Staff to the then President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, who tested positive for and later died of COVID-19. Tuggar himself tested negative but ordered the closure of the Nigerian embassy in Berlin.

As Ambassador, Tuggar initiated the repatriation of lost Benin artefacts from the German government leading to the return of 22 Benin Bronze looted artefacts valued at over 100 million pounds.

He completed his term as Ambassador to Germany on August 21, 2023 when he was sworn in as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The new Minister of Foreign Affairs was born on March 12,1967 in Bauchi state. He received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the United States International University. He also attended the University of Bath, and has master’s degree from the University of Cambridge.

After graduating, Tuggar spent several years in the private sector. He was the Chief Executive Officer of Nordic Oil and Gas Services, an energy consulting firm. Tuggar was also a contributor on political and economic opinions in Nigerian newspapers and magazines.

From the oil industry in the private sector, Tuggar switched to the public sector, specifically politics. Politics flows in Yusuf Maitama Tuggar’s veins. Born into a political family in Bauchi State, his father was the Organizing Secretary of the ruling Northern People’s Congress in the period preceding and after Nigerian Independence in 1960, and later became a Senator in the Second Nigerian Republic.

Young Tuggar took the political mantle over from his father after his formal education abroad and a stint in the private sector. He served as a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011 representing Gamawa, Bauchi state. He later contested twice for Governor of Bauchi State, both attempts terminating at the party primaries stage. He contested and won election and represented Gamawa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State in the Nigerian House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011. He served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Procurement, regulating government spending in the oil and gas industry, education, health and water resources. The committee worked on separating the President’s cabinet from the responsibility of awarding contracts.

He also oversaw the creation of the National Council on Public Procurement, and was the member of the House Committee that worked on Local content bill with a focus on oil and gas. He was also a member of the House Committee on foreign affairs and was the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Public Petitions. He sponsored a bill on inhumane transportation of livestock on the floor of the House.

In 2011, Tuggar ran for office of the Governor of Bauchi State as the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change and came second after the election was marred with fraud and violence. In 2013, he joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on whose platform he contested the governorship primaries, coming third.

In August 2017, Tuggar was appointed the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany by President Muhammadu Buhari.