The former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Court of St James’ Dr Alhaji Dalhatu Tafida OFR, CFR was formally sent off following a series of events that took place in London last week.
The much loved High Commissioner had earlier last month been recalled back to Abuja by President Buhari bringing his term as High Consul to an end.
Dr Tafida who was once Personal Physician to former President Sheu Shagari is the longest serving High Commissioner after occupying the position for 7 years.
During his time at Abuja House, many Nigerians in the UK saw many changes in the relationship between the High Commission and the Nigerian Community. Many were able to form alliances and contacts with staff and ambassadors in the consulate and the commission became widely and openly accessible.
Among the many changes and achievements directly attributable to Dr are the changes to the VISA application procedure which made is much easier to contain Nigerian visas; the quashing and eradication of passport rackets who unlawfully charged applicants huge sums to “help” acquire new Nigerian passports and the Customer Service training of consular staff which resulted in the delivery of better, more efficient and more polite services.
Baba Tafida who became the High Commissioner in 2008, also laid the foundation and started the tradition of taking the High Commission to the diasporan community. Last year, with the collaboration of CANUK under the Chairmanship of Bimbo Roberts-Folayan, Baba Tafida, as he is more fondly known, led strong delegations on town hall visits to Liverpool, Manchester, Scotland and Ireland. At the meetings, Nigerians were able to air their views opinions and criticisms of the High Commission. All these were taken back to London and acted upon by Consulate staff.
To honour the man also known as a strict discipinarian for his distinguished and outstanding service, The public lounge in the High Commision, formerly know as the Banking Hall, with the express approval of the Permanent Secretary and acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, has been renamed in honour of Baba Tafida and will now be known as Tafida Hall.
Baba Tafida who during his tenure as Nigerian High Commissioner had formed close relationships with many Nigerians in the UK, was visibly moved to tears at the Dinner held in his honour at Abuja House last weekend.
In his speech, Baba said he has thoroughly enjoyed and learnt a lot more even as an old man from his position and his appointment as Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK will go down as one of his most fulfilling jobs.
Baba and his wife have since flown back to Abuja. He will be sorely missed as he has been a real father to Nigerians here in the UK.
Pictures credit: DiasporaPR