By Victor Gotevbe, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief & Ann Acka’a, Contributing Editor,
The Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations on Tuesday organized a social gathering in New York in honour of Her Excellency, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations / Regional Director Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and other outgoing and incoming diplomats at the African Union Commission, New York.
Some of the distinguished guests who graced the occasion with their presence include: Her Excellency, Amina Jane Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN); His Excellency, Tijani Muhammad Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations; His Excellency, Mamodou Tangara, Ambassador of Gambia, Chief Temitope Ajayi, Chairman/CEO,Silicon Valley Nigeria Economic Development (SV-NED Inc), Mr. Benaoyagha Okoyen, Consul General, Nigerian Consulate General, New York and his Deputy, Mr. Nick amongst other high profile individuals.
She is one of the very few Nigerian women that have broken the ceiling in Diplomacy after a year ago the UN appointed Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed as its Deputy Secretary General.
Last June, Ms. Eziakonwa was amongst the four new appointees UN Secretary General, António Guterres appointed her into UNDP’s senior leadership team. Her selection came from the pool of the world’s leading development experts in sustainable development, resource mobilization, financing for development, and resilience and crisis recovery. She is designated Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP.
Ms. Eziakonwa succeeds Abdoulaye Mar Dieye who now graciously leads UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support. She has over 20 years of remarkable service with the United Nations. Up until now, she was the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ethiopia since 2015. She had also worn similar hat in Uganda and Lesotho and has served in several capacities with the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as Chief of the Africa Section in New York and in duty stations in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
She has worked for the UN Departments of Peace Keeping Operations and Public Information in New York as well as in Senior positions with Civil Society organizations in Africa prior to joining the United Nations.
Ms. Eziakonwa has a Master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, with the focus on Economic and Political Development and with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies (Education) from the University of Benin, Nigeria.
Ms.Ahunna Eziakonwo officially began her new role in August, 2018. This role puts in the position to spear head UNDP’s work in supporting of 46 African countries in order to achieve Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. She is charged with her many years of experience both outside of and across UN Systems including her extensive experience at country level to bring her expertise to bare on UNDP’s work in Africa, by way of helping in crafting the organization’s next generation offering. Undoubtedly, she is considered the right person to lead UNDP’s work in Africa.
She has since expressed her delight and honour for the opportunity to serve her mother land at a crucial moment in Africa’s development journey. She believes with team work she will be able to actualize the vision of UNDP in bringing about a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future.
Nigerians and the rest of the world have eyes set on Ms. Eziakonwa. The world looks forward to change agents who are bringing honor, respect, benevelonce and credibility to the difficult task of meeting the challenge of the vision and goals as set forth by UNDP in creating mutually satisfying relationships among all countries. The event shows optimism that she and others will make Nigeria, the African continent and the world at large proud during her tenure.
Diplomatic Watch brings some exciting moments of the event in pictures: