Nigeria’s Consul General in New York, United States of America, Ambassador Ben Okoyen, has called on Nigerians living in America to support the proposed Nigerian Federal Credit Union (NFCU) being put together to serve the community.
Ambassador Okoyen, who was the Keynote Speaker at the Flag Raising Ceremony organised by Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), New Jersey Chapter to celebrate the 59th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, said that the project was commendable and enjoined all Nigerians to sign -up so that the Credit Union, a community bank, can be licensed by the American authorities.
He also enjoined Nigerians to always be proud of their country, to be patriotic and be part of the nation-building process, pointing out that most of the founding fathers of Nigeria studied abroad and returned to contribute to the founding of the country.
He reminded the audience, that included the Newark City Council President, Hon. Mildred Crump, the Deputy Mayor (International Relations & Diaspora Affairs) City of Newark, Hon. Ligia De Feitas and many other dignitaries of the contributions of such Nigerian nationalists as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Herbert Macaulay, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Margaret Ekpo and stressed that there is a lot that Nigerians in Diaspora can do to help in the development of their fatherland.
Ambassador Okoyen noted, for instance, that they must ensure that they invest in their country of birth, refrain from destructive criticism of Nigeria, be good ambassadors of the country and reject negative stereotypes by people trying to paint all Nigerians in bad colors based on the activities of a handful.
The Consul General also pointed out that the Consulate is doing everything possible to serve the Nigerian community efficiently and satisfactorily and urged all Nigerians to feel free to come to use the facilities available at the Consulate.
He stressed that because of the high number of those seeking the services of the Consulate, they are sometimes under pressure and counselled that all who need their services should use the official channels, the Consulate’s website, email etc, follow the processes outlined for each of the services and refrain from using third parties.
He charged Nigerians in America to keep the flag of the country flying, reflect on their activities and actions, always do the right things and remember that nation building is a task that must be done.
Hon. Crump (Mama Africa) expressed joy at the event, recalled her previous trips to Nigeria and how she adopted the School for the Blind in Lagos and mobilized funds for the provision of equipment for the School, promising that she would be back in the country next August to upgrade the equipment.
Hon. Feitas, from Cape Verde, in her remarks, praised the contributions of Nigerians to the development of the City of Newark and stressed that we are from Africa and must not forget where we came from.
The President of NIDO, Dr. Kazeem Bello, appreciated all who attended the program and promised that next year’s Flag Raising Ceremony, which will be in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence will be more grand than this year’s and urged all Nigerians to embrace the NFCU and sign in support of the proposed community bank.
Hon. Innocent Okemezie, the Vice President of NIDO, who welcomed guests on behalf of the Organization, said that the Flag Raising Ceremony has become a tradition to honor Nigeria.
Six Nigerians were given Awards in recognition of their personal accomplishments and service to Nigeria and the Nigerian Community in USA.
The program, which was excellently compered by Prince Anozie Ugenyi, also witnessed presentations by the Steering Committee for the Nigerian Federal Credit Union; by Brig. Gen. ‘Tunde Reis (Rtd.) on opportunities for investment in housing in Nigeria; by Chinyere Obinna Onwuchekwa who introduced her novel, Dictates of the Heart; and by some other stakeholders in business and other sectors.