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Ojukwu’s wife, Bianca, gets outstanding African Ambassador award

The Netherlands-based magazine, The Voice, on October 17, hon­oured Mrs Bianca Olivia Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Ni­geria’s ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, with the Outstanding African Ambassador in the Di­aspora award during its Voice Achievers Award, 2014.

The award ceremony for Mrs Odumegwu-Ojukwu who is also Nigeria’s Per­manent Representative to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was held at the prestigious Van der Valk Hotel, Almere, The Neth­erlands.

According to the orga­nizers of the award, the honour was in recognition of the outstanding contri­butions of Amb. Odumeg­wu-Ojukwu to good gov­ernance and excellence in public service, as well as advancing the cause of hu­manity and the vulnerable in the society, which she has demonstrated since her appointment as Nigeria’s ambassador to the King­dom of Spain.

They noted that she had within the short time of as­sumption of office, signifi­cantly transformed the Em­bassy of Nigeria in Spain.

“The transformation is not only on physical struc­tures at the Chancery and Residence, but equally on the diplomatic level where she has been able to take bilateral relations between Nigeria and Spain to a higher level,” they said.

They also observed that she was acknowledged to have re-invigorated the spirit of patriotism among Nigerians living in Spain, just as she has taken citi­zens diplomacy to another level.

“She is reputed to be in the vanguard of champi­oning the cause of Nigeri­ans by insisting on better and equitable treatment for Nigerians and other Africans living in Spain.

“Nigerians of all walks of life are now being re­spected and are no longer harassed as was the case in the past.

Cases of discrimination and profiling of Nigerians have reduced significantly and the Embassy of Ni­geria has now become a home for all Nigerians irrespective of creed, tribe, social status, be­lief, among others,” they pointed out.

Speaking at the award ceremony, the Publisher of The Voice Magazine, Pastor Elvis Iruh, said that the awards were given to those who had made posi­tive impacts on their com­munities, the country or region they operate.

He disclosed that the aim was to encourage sustainable and inclusive growth, saying that the awardees were all deserv­ing of the awards in view of their individual contri­butions to the growth of the continent, advising that they act as a bench­mark for others to emu­late.

The award was present­ed to Ambassador Odu­megwu-Ojukwu by Mrs Nimota Akanbi, Nigeria’s ambassador to the King­dom of The Netherlands.

In her acceptance speech, Mrs Odumegwu- Ojukwu said that she was humbled by the award and thanked The Voice Maga­zine for finding her worthy of it even as she expressed appreciation to those who nominated her.

She promised to contin­ue to do her best to promote the good image of Nigeria and to serve the country to the best of her ability.

She called on Nigerians to support President Good­luck Jonathan in his effort to transform the country and make it a nation of their collective aspirations and dream.

Mrs Odumegwu-Ojuk­wu dedicated the award to the members of staff of the Embassy of Nigeria, Ma­drid, and all Nigerians liv­ing in Spain.

She explained that she dedicated it to the embassy staffers for their individual and collective support and commitment in bringing about the desired change and all Nigerians living in Spain for their support and encouragement, noting that without their supports the successes recorded so far would not have been pos­sible.

The award came to the ambassador barely two weeks after she was simi­larly honoured with the ‘Merit Award of Excel­lence’ by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Coop­eration of the Kingdom of Spain in conjunction with the International Diplomat­ic Association of Spain on Friday October 3, for her untiring efforts in strength­ening bilateral relations between Nigeria and the Kingdom of Spain on the one hand, and her outstand­ing contributions to the diplomatic community in Spain on the other hand.

The award was pre­sented to her by Dr George Massad, president of Mun­do Diplomatico, Spain, the Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Af­fairs and Cooperation of Spain and all the Deans of the five Regional Diplo­matic Corps, as well as all the ambassadors present at the occasion.

The VoiceAchievers Award was established in The Netherlands as a project of The Voice Magazine to recognize Africans and friends of Africa who have not only distinguished themselves in their various areas of endeavour but have also had positive and outstand­ing impacts on African and Africans. were Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, former President of the Republic Zambia; Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Si­erra Leone; Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecu­tor, International Criminal Court; Ms. Miet Smet, President European Par­liamentarians for Africa; among others.

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