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Date of publication: May 14, 2018

Mohammed Gana Yisa

Ambassador
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
www.nigeriaembassy.jp

Date of birth: March 2, 1959

Hometown: Echi-Wada, Nigeria

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 4 (as of May 2018)

Mohammed Gana Yisa
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I was a monbukagakusho (Japanese government) scholar from 1992 to 1996 in the agricultural engineering Ph.D. program at Hokkaido University. I undertook research on the dynamics of tractor-implement combinations on slopes, which was funded by the Japanese government and completed with distinction. This prepared me for a notably early professorial appointment in 2005 at the Federal University of Technology in Minna, Nigeria. In addition, my encounter with the Japanese prepared me for subsequent appointments as provost, commissioner and member of Parliament, and currently as ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Japan.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

My motto is the three “h’s” — honesty, humbleness and hard work.
Honesty builds trust, which is very important in any type of human relation. Once identified as an honest individual, all will believe in you and sometimes you’ll even be envied. When you are humble, you respect others and you are respected by all. As a hard worker, you can achieve anything you set out to achieve. With hard work, all your ambitions are achievable.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

Competing for and winning a Japan monbugakusho scholarship for post-graduate students in agricultural engineering at Hokkaido University in Sapporo was a turning point in my career and I am very proud of that achievement because I was picked as the only successful interview candidate among many applicants. Of course, my success at Hokkaido University in turn led to many more achievements in Nigeria, culminating in my appointment as Nigerian ambassador to Japan — all are achievements that I am proud of. Finally, I remain ambitious in the spirit of my alma mater’s motto, “Boys, be ambitious.”

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

Japan and Nigeria have maintained diplomatic relations for more than half a century now, with the two countries also having collaborated at international levels. It is pertinent that this partnership, which covers areas including education, culture, trade, investment and support from Japan on infrastructure development and many others, has brought happiness to both sides that must be carried on to the next level. I intend to strengthen this relationship by promoting more business and investments in both directions and expand collaboration in the education sector, encourage more engagement in the area of science, and promote the transfer of technology.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

If you’re living and working in Japan, a word of advice. Whether you are working for a Japanese company or an international organization, I think it is important to have a working knowledge of the Japanese language. This is important in order to understand the local culture and integrate freely into the society.
Secondly, to avoid trouble and since Japan is a highly orderly country, everybody must obey the laws and established authorities. This is the only way anybody can enjoy the nearly 100 percent safe environment that Japan provides.
Food is one of human beings' most important needs. While advancements in technology have made it possible to access all types of food everywhere around the world, I wish to advise that non-Japanese quickly get used to Japanese food upon arrival.
I have found Japanese food to be great in variety and taste. You can try everything, even the sushi that many non-Japanese run away from — I have found it to be very oishii (delicious). Finally, I wish to encourage all to adopt Japanese work ethics.

Last updated: May 30, 2018