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Nigerians in diaspora celebrate out-going CG in New York, Egopija

Nigerians in the diaspora in New York and New Jersey have celebrated the achievements of the outgoing Consul-General (CG) of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, on completion of his tour of duty.

Egopija served the country in that capacity from April 2021 to March 2024.

In separate farewell events organised for the outgoing ambassador in New York and New Jersey, some leaders of Nigerian associations poured encomium on Egopija for her outstanding performance as the CG.

Dr. Grace Adepoju, Chair, Outreach of the Nigerian Nurses Association, USA, Inc., at a farewell event organised by the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigeria (OAN) in New York, praised Egopija’s dedication to serving his compatriots.

Adepoju said all the suggestions her association presented to the CG were honoured, including having a monthly free health outreach for Nigerians at Nigeria House.

In her remarks, the General Secretary of OAN, Ms. Olayinka Sarayi, said the attendance at the event testified to Egopija’s contributions to bringing Nigerians together.

“We planned the event on such short notice, but the turnout is amazing.

“Everyone coming together to share their well wishes is a testament to the impact Amb. Egopija has had on the Nigerians within New York’s jurisdiction.

“His absence will definitely be felt, but his time here was well spent,” she said.

Also speaking, the President of the Nigerian Diaspora Organization (NIDO), New Jersey chapter, Dr. Adeola Popoola, lauded Egopija’s leadership and diplomatic qualities.

“The Consular General arrived at his duty post without a specific agenda other than his determination to be fair and just and to confront every challenge in an egalitarian and custodial manner.

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“This means seeking solutions for the greater benefit of the person, people, and state, ahead of and beyond individual aspirations, objectives, or sectoral preferences.

“Therefore, we once again table Egopija’s successes and triumphs in front of you. Give honour to whom it is due. This again is not doctored nor embellished, but pure facts, observations, and data,” he said.

According to him, Nigerians in the U.S. will remember Egopija for creating the reception hall and waiting room at Nigeria House, as well as a consistent schedule of town hall meetings.

He said the envoy would be remembered for creating the Consulate Library and the Consulate (Nigerian) Cultural Museum, saying, “We shall expand this in your name to include a historical digest of consular activities.

“We will also remember him for supporting Nigerians and Nigerian organisations, his interventions beyond the protocol of office, and his humane services,” the official said.

Earlier, at a farewell event organised in his honour in New Jersey, Popoola recalled that within his three years in office, Egopija presided over 12 Town Hall meetings.

He said the ambassador visited about 26 cities in the states under his jurisdiction, providing passport issuance and renewal services to Nigerians where they lived through passport intervention programmes.

The event was organised by the Regional Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Dominion Cathedral, Orange, New Jersey, Pastor Toyin Laoye.

Laoye, in her address, described Egopija as a godly ambassador, noting that he is the best Consul-General that the nationals in the Consulate’s area of jurisdiction have ever had.

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She thanked God for standing by him during his tenure, insisting that Egopija went about showing love to Nigerians, encouraging them, and supporting all their programmes.

The pastor said the tenure of the Consul General was also marked by peace in the community.

Laoye said the CG ensured that, through a regime of transparency and an open-door policy, the era when it was difficult to get anything done in the Consulate became a thing of the past.

Responding, Egopija called on Nigerians in the states covered by the New York Consulate to give maximum cooperation to his successor, expressing gratitude for the support he enjoyed during his tenure.

The envoy, who attended the event with his wife, Mrs. Florence Egopija, said he made up his mind from the onset to give his duty the best, noting that he is grateful he got the support of Nigerians.

He acknowledged that Nigerians within the jurisdiction of the Consulate must continue to demand their rights rather than succumb to despair and the notion that nothing could be done for them by their government and its representatives.

Egopija promised to continue to advance the cause of Nigerians in the 20 states covered by the Consulate wherever he found himself, including pursuing to a logical conclusion the Sister City initiatives that he vigorously canvassed.

States under the New York Consulate’s jurisdiction include New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, Connecticut, Illinois, Rhode Island, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Minnesota.

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He paid special tribute to Nigerian nationals in New Jersey for their support and active participation in the activities of the Consulate as well as programmes such as the Nigerian Flag Raising events to commemorate the Independence Day anniversary organised annually at Newark City Hall.

The President of the Orange City Council, Hon. Christopher Awe, also showered encomiums on Egopija for his exemplary leadership style, noting particularly his unalloyed support for and mentorship of Nigerian youths in the Consulate’s area of coverage. (NAN)

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