As Foreign Minister, Odein Ajumogobia leads an outspoken diplomatic corps. Nigeria urged Laurent Gbagbo to quit after losing Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential election. As the crisis dragged on, Ajumogobia condemned the West for rapidly imposing a no-fly zone in Libya while failing to protect people in Côte d’Ivoire. The well-regarded Foreign Minister holds the post at a time when Nigeria exercises notable influence on regional and global politics. The country is in the midst of its 2010-11 tenure on the United Nations Security Council, and on 24 March, it began a third term as chair of the Economic Community of West African States.
On 15-17 March, Ajumogobia visited India, strategic partner and fellow non-permanent member of the Security Council. He co-chaired the fifth session of the India-Nigeria Joint Commission with India’s Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna. They explored ways of expanding trade and economic links. Krishna predicted bilateral trade would hit US$12 billion in 2011 and put Indian investments in Nigeria at $5 bn. Ajumogobia also met Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.
Born in 1956 in Akuku-Toru, Rivers State, Ajumogobia holds law degrees from the University of Lagos (1978) and Harvard (1988). He lectured at Lagos University before founding his own practice, Ajumogobia and Okeke, in 1984, specialising in commercial litigation, environment and transport law. In 2003, he became Attorney General for Rivers State and, in 2007, Minister for Energy. Ajumogobia was expected to take the energy portfolio in Goodluck Jonathan’s government, but the job went to former Shell executive Diezani Allison-Madueke.