Members of the Nigerian community in the US on Tuesday night celebrated Ambassador Samson Itegboje, who just rounded off his duty tour as Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations.
Itegboje was honoured with a farewell reception hosted by the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, US chapter in collaboration with Nigerian professional bodies based in the country.
Deployed to the UN in 2017, the Edo State indigene leaves a mark of excellent service at the UN under Ambassador Tijani Muhammad-Bande, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative.
He represented Nigeria as Chairman, Special Committee on Peacekeeping; Interim coordinator, Alliance for Poverty Eradication; and Joint chair, Committee on Illicit Financial Flows, among others.
Itegboje is returning to Abuja to serve as Director of International Organisations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Tuesday’s reception, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was attended by Nigerian diplomats and leaders of various community and professional bodies.
In different remarks, they hailed a man they described as a quintessential diplomat and patriotic Nigerian, who always identifies with the Nigerian community.
They also acknowledged his love, mentorship and regular attendance at Nigerian events, even at short notice.
In his remarks, Muhammad-Bande said he enjoyed a close and harmonious working relationship with Itegboje, who he hailed as very loyal, patriotic and exceptional in his service at the mission and to the Nigerian community.
He lauded his outgoing deputy as a hardworking officer, and a shining example of excellence for which Nigerians in the Diaspora are highly respected.
The permanent representative used the opportunity to urge Nigerians in the US to be good ambassadors, and endeavour to celebrate their country’s achievements.
The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Benaoyagha Okoyen, spoke in similar vein, extolling the virtues of Itegboje, who he described as one of the best in the diplomatic service.
Okoyen said: “Comments made by other speakers about him are not flattery.
“They are a true reflection of the man.
“He a good man, an achiever, a team player and reliable diplomat, who has done well for Nigeria.”
The immediate-past Chairman of NIDO US, Patience Kay, acknowledged Itegboje’s mentorship and fatherly disposition to various Nigerian organisations.
Kay also described him as a great friend, father, compatriot and pillar of support who always set aside other engagements to identify with the Nigerian community.
To Dr. Anthony Ikeme, President, Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the America, Itegboje is a great source of inspiration to Nigerians in the US.
Dr. Nelson Aluya, President of the Nigerian-American Public Affairs Committee, thanked the diplomat for his service to Nigeria and wished him well in his future assignments.
Responding, Itegboje thanked NIDO USA and the other organisations for the honour and show of love.
He said: “I enjoy meeting with Nigerians wherever I find myself.
“It is my passion.
“I have particularly enjoyed working with NIDO USA.
“I have always held the view that the Diaspora is an integral part of the Nigerian project.
“I agree with you that we all have a role to play in making Nigerian great.
“We hold the ace to the economic and technological leapfrogging of our dear country.
“That’s why we don’t joke with invitations from NIDO whose members show passion and love for their home country.”
The outgoing ambassador appealed to Nigerians abroad to keep faith in their fatherland and continue to join hands to make the nation great.