H.E. Dr. Eniola Olaitan Ajayi is the newly appointed Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. She presented her credentials to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander on June 2nd, 2021.
Before her career in politics and diplomacy, Dr. Ajayi was exceptionally active in the field of optometry. She acquired a Bachelor of Science in Optometry from the University of Benin in 1986 and went on to work at 445 Nigeria Airforce Base Hospital in Lagos. Here, she operated as an Ocular Pathologist and Chief Optometrist for over twenty years. During this time, Dr. Ajayi also pursued higher education. She earned a Master of Philosophy in Ocular Pathology in 1994 from the University of London and a Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Benin in 2002. Due to her outstanding academic performance, she was the sole recipient of the A. H Bygott Postgraduate Studentship Award of 1993 and was the best graduating student of the Special Doctor of Optometry class of 2000.
After completing her education, in addition to committing herself to her position at the hospital, Dr. Ajayi also made multiple social contributions within the field of optometry. She was the chairperson for World Optometry Day in 2004 and 2005, as well as chairperson for the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) from 2005 to 2013.
In 2007, Dr. Ajayi became a sole proprietor as she opened up her eye clinic, Enny Eye Care. In the few years that she ran her business, she was named Optometrist of the Year and NOA Chairman of the Year in 2009. In the following year, she was also awarded the title Eye-care Personality of the Year. Subsequently, in 2011, she also became a Fellow of the NOA. During this time, Dr. Ajayi continued her social contributions, namely being the Secretary of the Save a Sight and Vision Foundation, which is an NGO of the NOA’s Lagos branch. She has held this position from early 2009 until now.
Dr. Ajayi finally entered the political realm in 2010 when she was appointed Honourable Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology of Ekiti State. During her three-year term, she won the Top Elegance Magazine Award for Best Commissioner of the Year in 2012, as well as the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Benin Alumni Worldwide in the same year. Following this role, she was the Honourable Commissioner for Environment of Ekiti State from 2013 to 2015. Towards the end of her term, she was also the candidate of the All Progressives Congress Party (APC) for the Ekiti Central Federal Constituency 1, which was part of the House of Representative Elections in March 2015.
Not long afterward did Dr. Ajayi shift towards foreign service. In 2017, she embarked on her first term abroad as Ambassador of Nigeria to Hungary, with concurrent accreditation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. As a result of her dedication to this role, she was presented with the Distinguished Ambassador of the Year Award by Afe Babalola Beneficiaries Worldwide in 2019. Additionally, her embassy was adjudged the best by Nigerians in Diaspora in the following year. Towards the end of her term, she also received the Best Ambassador Award from the African Forum in 2021. Even when she was out of the country, Dr. Ajayi continued to be active in the NOA as she became a member of the Board of Trustees in 2019.
Only a month after concluding this term in early 2021, Dr. Ajayi came to The Hague to begin her new term as Ambassador to the Netherlands. She is continuing to work towards several goals she set out to achieve in international diplomacy. These include inclusion for Nigerian citizens in host countries, investment drives, image building for Nigeria, amongst others.
One particular idea Dr. Ajayi has in mind is advancing a Citizens Charter, through which the interests and rights of the weakest are protected. The life of every Nigerian – able or vulnerable, young or old, male or female, Muslim or Christian, etc. would count. With this, she believes a greater Nigeria is possible.
When there is time to spare, Dr. Ajayi loves to read, listen to music such as jazz and gospel, and write. She usually creates poems or writes about contemporary issues; some of her publications include Nigeria: Land of Opportunities (2018), Arts, Culture and Tourism in Nigeria (2019), and Food, Culture and Cuisine in Nigeria (2020). Her latest work with the Embassy of Nigeria in Hungary won the Nigeria Export Promotion Council Award earlier this year.
Aside from her aforementioned hobbies, Dr. Ajayi is also passionate about empowering and motivating the youth. This is why she contributed to several schools throughout the years, including the Chrisland School at Ladipo Oluwole, Ikeja, Lagos, as Chairperson of the parent-teacher association from 2005 to 2008. She has also been a member of the Board of Governors at Olashore International School from 2006 until now. Furthermore, she was the long-time President of the Christ School Ado – Ekiti Alumni Association 75/80 Set from 2005 to 2013. Additionally, Dr. Ajayi is devoted to supporting pregnant and expecting parents through Church Ministry.
The diplomat community in The Hague sends a warm welcome to Ambassador Ajayi and wishes her all the best in her new term.