H. E. Dr Chijioke Wilcox WIGWE, a distinguished Fellow of the National War College (Nigeria), is a career diplomat with a wide and varied educational background and professional experience. He arrived in Nairobi on Saturday 3rd May 2008 to assume duty as High Commissioner / Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Republic of Kenya.
Dr Wigwe is also Nigeria’s Non-Resident High Commissioner to the Republic of Seychelles.
In addition, Ambassador Wigwe is the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) both headquartered in Nairobi.
Dr Wigwe also oversees Nigeria’s relations with the Republic of Somalia.
Before his appointment as principal envoy of Nigeria, Ambassador Wigwe was the Director for Asia and Pacific Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, from July to October 2007. Prior to that, he had spent four years as Head of the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs (Third Committee) at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, New York, NY, from August 2003 to July 2007. In that capacity, he was responsible for human rights, social development, women and gender issues as well as the rights of children.
Between 2002 and 2003 he was the Director in the Office of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. He has served in various capacities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Nigerian missions abroad including Tokyo and Warsaw.
Dr Wigwe was twice Chairman of the Third Committee Experts of the African Permanent Missions to the United Nations in November 2005 and January 2007 respectively. He participated actively in the 2005 World Summit as well as in the follow-up meetings that culminated in the creation of the Human Rights Council in March 2006.
In August the same year, he 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 UN Headquarters. He has been a member of Nigerian delegations to many international conferences and meetings including the Third Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies held in Santiago, Chile from 28 to 30 April 2005.
Prior to joining the Nigerian Foreign Service in April 1984 as First Secretary, Dr Wigwe was a lecturer in the Department of English, University of Jos, Nigeria. Courses he taught included Language in Society; History of the English Language; Dialectal Variations of English and Use of English. In 1982 he pioneered an academic journal titled the Nigerian Journal of Sociolinguistics and became its first editor-in-chief until April 1984.
Ambassador Wigwe obtained a Bachelor of Arts, B.A. (Hons), in English, with a Second Class Upper Division, from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1976 and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in English from the University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom in 1981. In 1991 he obtained a Diploma in Journalism from the London School of Journalism, UK.
Nominated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attend the 9th Senior Executive Management Course in September 2000 at the National War College (Nigeria), (now renamed National Defence College), Dr Wigwe was awarded the Fellow of the War College (fwc) in July 2001 having successfully passed the prescribed examinations and defended his thesis titled Raising Nigeria’s Diplomatic Profile in the Next Decade: Challenges and Prospects.
Ambassador Wigwe received the Eudora Coker Memorial Prize for Best HSC Literature in 1972 from CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos, Nigeria and the Faculty of Arts Prize for Best All-Round Performance in the Degree Examination at the University of Lagos in 1976. He was similarly honoured by the London School of Journalism in 1991 with the award of an Honours Diploma for Outstanding Ability and Expertise.
Dr Wigwe 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 is a Lifetime/Platinum Member of the Cambridge Who’s Who Registry of Executives and Professionals.
In March 2007, while serving at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Wigwe was honoured by the Africans In America Inc. New York, USA, with the conferment of an award for Exemplary Leadership and Community Service.
On 31st August 2008, during the Global Peace Festival held in Nairobi, Dr Wigwe’s lifelong achievements and efforts for the promotion of goodwill and harmony among peoples from different backgrounds and races and for selfless service to humanity was recognised and appreciated by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) with the conferment of the title of Ambassador for Peace. In September 2010, Dr Wigwe was named Best Ambassador of the Year 2010 by the Vision Africa Magazine.
Ambassador Wigwe was elected Chairman of the Group of 77 and China, Nairobi Chapter, for the year 2009 in January 2009. In addition to his work with various charities and non-governmental organizations, Dr Wigwe is the Honorary Chairman of Lady Mitz Foundation, New York as well as Chairman of the World Youth Alliance Africa Regional Advisory Committee, Nairobi, Kenya.
Ambassador Wigwe has taken part in charity walks in Nairobi to raise money for various charities including the Mater (Heart) Hospital, Kenya Paraplegic Organization and the Freedom from Hunger Project. In October 2009, he took part in the Nairobi Marathon organised by Standard Chartered Bank.
His diplomatic and negotiating skills came to the fore during the 10 month ordeal of the crew of the Nigerian vessel “MV Yenegoa Ocean” which was captured by Somali pirates and held in captivity from 4 August 2008 to 5 June 2009. When the vessel was released on 5 June 2009, Dr Wigwe flew to Mukallah, Yemen, to receive the vessel and crew and to arrange for their repatriation to Nigeria.
In recognition of his role in securing the release of the crew and vessel without payment of any ransom, Ambassador Wigwe was honoured on 28th August 2009 with the African Peace and Security Impact Award during the African Commerce and Industry Awards Ceremony organised by the African Leadership Magazine at a colourful ceremony held at Serena Hotel, Nairobi.
Ambassador Wigwe has actively promoted Cultural Diplomacy since assumption of duty in Nairobi. Between December 2008 and May 2009, he helped to organise and sponsor the Nigerian Family Day, a day of family get together that culminated in a colourful football match between women and men in which Dr Wigwe himself was the goal keeper and the Nigerian Easter Fun Day as well the West African Ladies Gala Night. He contributed actively to the organisation of the first ever Naija Nite held at Club Galilleo, Nairobi on Saturday 3rd October 2009.
Ambassador Wigwe is taking relations between Nigeria and Kenya and Nigeria and Seychelles respectively to new heights with the submission of a number of bilateral agreements to the two countries.
In September 2008, he succeeded in taking Nigeria to the Nairobi International Trade Fair after 10 years of absence. Nigeria also took part in the 2009 Nairobi International Trade Fair during which the High Commission received first prize for The Best Medium Foreign Government Stand and second prize for The Best Foreign Private Stand.
A devoted lover of music of all kinds and genre ranging from Classical to New Age, Ambassador Wigwe enjoys singing and dancing. His favourite artistes include Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Franco, Enya, Barry White, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson.
He is an avid reader and a compelling writer. In his spare time he tries his hand at writing short poems. He loves the arts and enjoys going to the opera. His other interests include bird-watching as well as aircraft- watching.
Ambassador Wigwe was born, the third child of Elder Jephtah Walozie Wigwe and Sarah Wigwe (nee Akarahu), in a family of eleven, on 6 June 1951 in Aba, Abia State, South eastern Nigeria. He is married, has seven children and is blessed with grand-children.