The Nigerian-American Public Affairs Committee (NAPAC) on Saturday, March 27, 2021, held a star-studded Send Forth ceremony for outgoing Consul General of Nigeria in New York, United States of America (US), Ambassador Ben Okoyen.
Ambassador Okoyen is proceeding to Havana, capital of Cuba, to resume duties as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cuba with concurrent accreditation to Bahamas, Honduras and Nicaragua.
The glamorous Virtual event, very well organised by the Dr. Nelson Aluya-led NAPAC, had in attendance dignitaries from far and near, including the President of the Manhattan Borough, Hon. Gale Brewer, Senator Robert Jackson, New York State Assembly member, Al Taylor and the Queen Mother, Dr. Deloise Blakely.
There was, from the Nigerian side, among many dignitaries, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, former Head of Service of Nigeria, Ambassador Emmanuel Otiotio, Dr. Iwuozo Obilo, Dr. Victor Ubani, Prof. Kenoye Eke, Dr. Adeola Popoola, Bright Onabulele and Bishop Amajene Samson of the Ijaw Diaspora Christian Organisation.
Well moderated by Joyce Adewumi (the ‘Cultural Ambassador’) and Charles Busari (the Digital Director), the event witnessed a flood of encomiums from all who spoke, with speaker after speaker recounting the exemplary work done by Ambassador Okoyen as Consul General. Starting from Dr. Aluya, all celebrated Ambassador Okoyen’s sterling leadership qualities, his humility, accessibility, fear of God, commitment to duty, diligence, uprightness, collaborative spirit and acute patriotism.
At the end of the avalanche of accolades, Ambassador Okoyen, who had his wife besides him through out the program, in turn, commended his team at the Consulate, hailed all the elected officials of the host community, thumbed-up the Nigerian community in his area of coverage and pledged that the friendships established will last forever.
He reassured everyone that he will continue to be himself and will continue to make Nigeria his priority and used the opportunity to invite all to his new station.
The program ended on a jolly note with a virtual toast by Dr. Aluya and some virtual dancing that saw the Ambassador and his wife taking to the dancing floor at their location while others joined, also from their locations, all in celebration of the man of the people.