Nigeria’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru died on Saturday in a South African hospital at the age of 66.
THISDAY gathered that Ashiru had been in intensive care with brain-related complications following a near crippling stroke.
Appointed Foreign Minister by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, Ashiru had the onerous task of selling Nigeria’s economic diplomacy thrust to the world at the time increasing attacks by the Boko Haram sect dented the country’s image.
He was outspoken in defending Nigeria as the latter came under pressure from some members of the international community for legislation against same sex marriage.
A career diplomat, Ashiru had laid the needed groundwork which saw Nigeria being elected as a non-permanent member of the UN security seat in 2013. He was unexpectedly removed in August 2013, sources say, for his closeness to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. A graduate of the University of Lagos, he was once Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa.