Dr. Chijioke Wigwe is a world-class diplomat and international relations expert. While his experience in diplomacy spans over three decades, he has put in some seven years working in the defence and strategic field. He is the Provost of the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja, Nigeria’s apex military institution for training top military officials on policy management, having been appointed in 2017. As the highest ranking non-military officer in the management of the institute, he coordinates and manages all administrative processes connected with policy formulation and discharge of professional knowledge in the areas of defence and strategies.
He reached the peak of his diplomatic career in 2008, serving as the Nigerian High Commissioner to Kenya and the Republic of Seychelles. Simultaneously, he was also the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Ambassador Wigwe is famous for his role in the negotiations that ended the MV Yenagoa siege of 2009. Deploying his diplomatic skills, he was able to secure the release of the Nigerian vessel’s crew, after ten months of captivity in the hands of Somali pirates. He initiated a number of bilateral agreements that improved relations between Nigeria and Kenya, paving way for Nigeria to participate at the Nairobi International Trade Fair in 2008 and 2009, after a decade of absence. Through his office he also organized and sponsored the Nigeria Family Day programme in Nairobi to promote cultural diplomacy.
Dr. Wigwe began his diplomatic career after a brief spell in academics, working as Graduate Assistant at the University of Calabar and the University of Jos from 1977 to 1978. In 1984, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as a First Secretary (Foreign Service Officer Grade V) and quickly rose to become the Director (Foreign Service Officer Special Grade) in 2006. In 2008, he became the High Commissioner. Two years into his term as a First Secretary at MFA in 1986, he transferred to Tokyo, Japan where he served till 1989 overseeing all commercial and trade matters. He thereafter, went on to serve Warsaw in Poland between 1993 and 1998.
At this point in his career, Dr. Wigwe’s administrative experience had broadened enough to earn him promotion as Director in the Office of the Foreign Affairs Minister between 2002 and 2003. Evidence of the level of trust he had earned was clear when he was appointed as the Head of Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Affairs (Third Committee) of Nigeria’s Mission to the United Nations in 2003. This was an assignment that was fully devoted to humanitarian projects. Wigwe was charged with providing guidance for the committee in the promotion of human rights, social development, women empowerment, gender equality, and child’s rights. He went on to chair the Third Committee Experts of the African Permanent Missions to the United Nations on two occasions.
He was also actively involved in the 2005 World Summit and several other conferences that birthed the Human Rights Council in 2006. In August of the same year, Wigwe led the Nigerian Delegation to the 8th Session of the Ad hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities held at the UN Headquarters. His work on this assignment which ended in 2007 was deservedly rewarded with the Exemplary Leadership and Community Service award by the Africans in America Inc. New York, United States in 2007.
Mr. Wigwe later became the Director of Asia and Pacific Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from July to October 2007 before he assumed leadership of the Nigerian High Commission to Kenya. His diplomatic profile had been so burnished that in 2009 he was elected as the Chairman of the Group of 77 and China, Nairobi Chapter, for the year. He was also the Chairman of the World Youth Alliance Africa Regional Advisory Committee, Nairobi, Kenya, and participated in charitable projects in Nairobi, including the walk to raise funds for charity organizations like the Mater (Heart) Hospital, Kenya Paraplegic Organization and the Freedom from Hunger Project.
Ambassador Wigwe disengaged from diplomatic service in 2011 and went to the National Defence College, Abuja in 2012, where he served as a member of Faculty (Directing Staff) before rising to become the Provost of the institute.
He has received commendations from several quarters including an award as the Best Ambassador of the Year (2010); African Peace and Security Impact Award (2009), for his role in securing the release of the Nigerian vessel MV Yenagoa. He has also been awarded the title of Ambassador for Peace by the Universal Peace Federation Global Peace Festival in Nairobi in 2008; and the Exemplary Leadership and Community Service Award (2007), among others. He is a recipient of the Faculty of Arts Prize for Best All-Round Performance in the Degree Examination at the University of Lagos in 1976 and the Eudora Coker Memorial Prize for Best HSC Literature in 1972 from the CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos. He has some scholarly publications to his credit including a book titled Language, Culture and Society in West Africa, published in 1990 by A.H. Stockwell (UK).
Dr. Wigwe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Lagos and a PhD in English from the University of Exeter, England. He has a post-graduate Diploma in Journalism from the London School of Journalism, obtained in 1991. A Fellow of War College Certificate (fwc), after his MFA-sponsored 9th Senior Executive Management Course at the National War College, Nigeria, he is a Lifetime/Platinum Member Cambridge Who’s Who Registry of Executives and Professionals, USA, and a member of the Association of Freelance Journalists, UK.