Diplomat per excellence
Amb. Hassan Ardo Tukur was born on the 3rd of January 1957 and hails from Adamawa State of Nigeria.
He had his primary, secondary and tertiary educations in northern Nigeria between 1964 and 1980, after which he bagged a B.Sc. in Political Science from the Bayero University, Kano.
The pace setter embarked on a mark of excellence from his final examination at O level days, from where hardwork soared him into success during his NYSC Service at Government College, Bida, Niger State where, owing to his outstanding performance and dedication, he was appointed Chief Examiner for Government during the 1980/81 academic session.
This confidence he justified by working hard and his efforts saw the students passing in flying colours in their School Certificate Examinations for that Session, having overall scores of 98% for the School. It was a first for the school and that record is yet to be attained.
Amb. Tukur, proceeded to Ministry of External Affairs in August 1981 and had several internal postings including; Finance and Welfare Department and African Affairs Department, Principal Protocol Officer to the Head of State, State House, Lagos from 1984 to 1985, amongst others.
His external postings included; Embassy of Nigeria, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Nigeria High Commission, London and Embassy of Nigeria, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where he headed the Mission as Charge d’Affaires, from January 1994 to November 1998 before he was promoted to Foreign Service Officer Grade I in January 2005 and served as a special assistant to the Honourable Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on his return to Headquarters from Malabo.
In April 2002, he was seconded to the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority, JOA, as Deputy Director, Office of the Chairman, and subsequently appointed as Executive Director (Finance and Administration) in the same Organisation.
Amb. Tukur is a career achiever. Some of his milestone include; his membership of the UN Election Team to Namibia that ensured SWAPO’s victory to usher in Namibia’s Independence. He was Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea where, among others, he successfully guided negotiations on the Maritime Boundary Demarcation between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea leading to the signing of a Treaty between the two countries as well as the unitization of Zafiro/Ekanga oil fields, which will yield revenue of over $2 billion to Nigeria. This earned him a second National Honour from Equatorial Guinea along with other members of the negotiating team.
Relentlessly, Ambassador Tukur had participated in the negotiations leading to the signing of the Joint Development Zone, JDZ, Treaty between Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, DRSTP and was among the pioneer Directors who established the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority, JOA.
He was also a member of National Boundary Commission, NBC, Technical Committee, TC, which supervised boundary negotiations from 1989 to 2005.
He was appointed Secretary, National Energy Council and Senior Special Assistant to Mr. President on Energy Partnership in September 2007, until his appointment, in June 2010, as the Principal Secretary to the President. He has recently been conferred with Ambassador-in-Situ” by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As a result of his meritorious services to the country, he had been garlanded in various designs to his credit. In 1985, Tukur through a letter of commendation from the Head of State, was honoured for patriotism and hard work by Government of Equatorial Guinea. In 1998, he was decorated, Commander of the Order of Independence-the highest honour given to any foreign diplomat for efforts towards improvement of cordial relations between his country and Equatorial Guinea. He was also conferred with the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2004 by the President; and Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2011.
He could not but insist on the best because of the critical nature of his jobs. He once said; “As the Principal Secretary to the President, what I must do here is to participate in most of the President’s programs; in most of the audiences I have to be there, especially foreign audiences.
Whatever policy decisions or policy issues that are declared there or stated at these meetings, I follow it up, write it and the give it to the President and then inform other officers that are not in the meeting.”
Tukur also had the responsibility for coordinating his boss’ foreign engagements, ensuring that from conception to the end, every bit of the job is done effectively. This part of his job was certainly enhanced by his proficiency in five foreign languages. To that you would add Hausa.
Widely travelled, Mr. Hassan Tukur appreciates the country’s challenge of nation-building within the context of emerging world order and argues that what matters are not the challenges but how they are resolved. “The world will always have crisis, what is important is how you manage the crisis and how you don’t allow whatever crisis you have internally or externally to distract you from your main objective,” he says.
For him the nation’s challenges are a passing phase; “it’s a phase and Nigeria will come out stronger”. He believes, however, that the ability of the nation to get out of the woods bolder and stronger depends on the willingness of the political elites, to act responsibly.
“You can politick but when you have a national crisis, the entire citizenry should support government to address these issues because there are issues that are fundamental, that everybody has that burden of responsibility to resolve.”
After retirement, Amb. Hassan Tukur has delivered consultancy services to African countries on Maritime Boundary Demarcation issues. He has been actively engaged in philanthropy within this period. He has also supported critical nation building programmes in Nigeria and is the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Unveiling and Rebranding Nigeria Initiative, a non-governmental organisation committed to promoting patriotism and showcasing the positive image of Nigeria.
Amb. Hassan Ardo Tukur speaks 7 languages, five of which are international and he is happily married with children.