The immediate past Special Adviser (SA) to Imo State Governor on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Cllr. Celia Osakwe-Hibbert has reacted to dissolution of the Expanded Imo State Executive Council by Governor Hope Odidika Uzodinma thanking the Governor and Imolites for the opportunity to serve.
The former Imo State SA, who is an elected Councillor in the City of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, also gave a brief account of her stewardship.
In a statement personally signed by her, and made available to the Abuja Business Reports, Hon. Cllr. Osakwe-Hibbert recalled that her appointment was without “Godfather or no Godmother neither did I have any special relationship with him yet he, Governor Hope Uzodimma appointed me into the most ‘sort for’ position”.
She described the Imo State Governor as “forward thinking, humane, gender equality champion”, “a disability champion” and a believer in environmental protection and right to peaceful protest.
Her statement reads in parts:
“Dear Imo Diasporans and Imolites at Home, today the 4th of June 2021, His Excellency Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, the Governor of Imo State has dissolved the Expanded Imo Executive Council.
“This means all Special Advisers and Senior Special Assistants are all affected. Consequently I am now your ‘Former’ Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Diaspora Affairs. Here are a few reflections of mine below including some of my achievements.
“I had no Godfather or no Godmother neither did I have any special relationship with him yet he, Governor Hope Uzodimma appointed me into the most ‘sort for’ position to serve my dearest State of Imo.
“The only thing I had was my CV. Governor Uzodimma read it and said to me, “well if you can do this in the U.K then I believe you’re capable of doing this Diaspora role”.
“He proceeded in telling me that His Chief of Staff will sort out the paperwork.
“After this, I became the first ever Female Special Adviser on Diaspora Imo State, may I add that I am also in my 30’s.
“So this is ground breaking in the political landscape in Imo, in fact in Nigeria; where a young woman is entrusted with a top position without having to compromise herself!
“So when I tell people the version of Governor Hope that I know I am speaking frankly, devoid of sycophancy.
“He is forward thinking, humane, gender equality champion, he is a disability champion, he believes in environmental protection, he believes in the right to peaceful protest; all of this matters to me, coming from a 1st world country.
“He also listens, he puts people first before himself and does think about community first before what is personally expedient. This is my sincere analysis of the current Governor of Imo State.
“Unfortunately, we have a dark cloud with us at the moment in Imo, but as we exist, I urge everyone to put aside their differences and come together to actively engage with the Government to find solutions to our problems.
“For the lives we have lost, again I join the Governor to express my heartfelt condolences. For the livelihoods and properties destroyed, I also join the Governor to express my deep regrets, yet again.
“Hopefully, soon old things shall become new again and we will all be able to sit on the same table of sisterhood and brotherhood in faith that we can resolve our problems amicably and forge ahead collectively.
“Thank you, thank you and thank you all”, Hon. Celia Osakwe-Hibbert said.
On her stewardship, she went on to list a few landmark achievements during her 17 months in office as Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Diaspora Affairs.
The few landmark achievements of Hon. Cllr. Celia Osakwe-Hibbert as the SA on Diaspora Affairs include attracting diasporan investors of various categories, both individuals and groups; raising interests of Imo Diaspora Athletes to look homewards, and employing staff on merit and paying staff country’s minimum wage of N30,000.00 (thirty thousand Naira) or more.
Hon. Celia Osakwe-Hibbert within the 17 months also opened up conversation about the Diaspora Village Project with investors, introduced transparent, open and non politically bias engagement on my media platforms and organised various medical outreaches powered by Imo Diasporans.
More of Hon. Celia Osakwe-Hibbert’s achievements as the Diaspora boss include joining forces with locals to fight Coronavirus and its effects in Imo, coordinating several palliatives distribution, both food and non-food items, supporting youth activities across the state, especially in her own local Government area of Isu, and raising awareness on social issues, through well coordinated and well attended events.
She as well collaborated with almost all Appointees of the 3R Government, collaborated with charities, NGOs, Civil rights organisations, among others.
Giving more insights into the collaborative efforts, she said “my office sponsored and took part in a 3 weeks active campaign against gender violence ‘Orange Campaign’.”
Part of her achievements is her famous presentation in support of VAAP Bill in Imo National Assembly.
Hon. Osakwe-Hibbert also organised zoom meetings with Diasporans to discuss pertinent issues plaguing the State, facilitated the attendance of the Imo Deaf Association to the ‘National Deaf Conference’ held in Kano for the first time ever, with all participants sponsored through the Diaspora Office.
She as well collaborated with other Diaspora desks across the states in Nigeria and, especially with activities organised by Rt. HON. ABIKE DABIRI-EREWA, the Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
Other landmark achievements in her 17 months in office also include being always contactable and taking “great interest in objective opinions, very approachable and dealt with inquiries both on public platforms and private questions”.
She also attended interstate Diaspora events and attended seminars in the Capital city (Abuja) where she was the key State Diaspora Officer who spoke and had regular communication with Imo Diasporans about the achievements of the 3R Government in Imo State, thus liaising and helping to reduce fake news.
This is also as she coordinated material donations from Diasporas, and assisted with physical distribution of the items and she used her Government platform to challenge ill-practices, whether perpetrated by establishment or institutions.
She successfully opened up need for gender and disability inclusion through actions and words, served as role model, mentor and guarantor to several young girls and men in Imo.
She also championed international objectives, including environmental issues, mental and health issues, gender equality, inclusion and diversity, law and order, and transparency among other issues.