Nigerian women have organized what they called a “special honorary dinner” in New York to celebrate Ms Amina Mohammed on her appointment as the UN Deputy Secretary-General.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Alhassan, led other women to extol Mohammed’s virtues at the dinner, held at the Nigeria House.
Alhassan said Mohammed’s emergence as the UN deputy chief out of a host of highly competent and capable contenders for the office, spoke volume of her distinction in public office.
“It is my singular honour and pleasure to host this special dinner on behalf of all Nigerian women to celebrate and commend a distinguished Nigerian, who is also my sister, colleague and friend, Ms Amina Mohammed, on her very well-deserved appointment as the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General.
“In my capacity as the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, I am also filled with a deep sense of pride as I perform this unique role of congratulating you on behalf of the over 80 million Nigerian women and girls.
“Also, men and the boys who support gender equality, and all the distinguished Nigerian delegates to the 61st Session of the UN Commission on Status of Women (CSW).
“It is not surprising that you have earned such a well-deserved recognition at the international level because you have been a dynamic and visionary leader, whose performance at every point of call has been distinctly excellent and results-driven.”
Alhassan assured Mohammed that all of the Nigerian women shared in the joy of her appointment and had cause to celebrate her as an illustrious daughter of Nigeria adding, she has been a role model and inspiration to millions of women and girls.
“Your new position extends renewed hope to women not only in Nigeria but across the African continent.
“It sends a signal that women can access top echelons of leadership and that glass ceilings can be shattered with the kind of determination and hard work you have exemplified over the years.
“Nigerian women from all walks of life gathered here tonight are excited to celebrate you as our own.
“You have done us proud in the past and we have no doubt that the UN’s development work will be taken to even greater heights on account of your appointment.
“We are all happy to align with you as a worthy ambassador for Nigerian and African women as a whole.
“We hope you will not be tired of meeting with us and sharing some of your very precious time, insights and know-how as you will continue to be a mentor for all women,” the minister added.
She thanked members of the international community on behalf of the women for supporting Mohammed’s appointment.
The elated Mohammed, who was accompanied by some top UN officials to the dinner, described the honour as humbling and homely.
“It’s humbling to feel that I left Nigeria some three weeks ago but I walk into my mission, my home here and there’s a room full of women, sisters, mothers, aunties that just made me feel that I didn’t leave home.
“This appointment is for us women; women in Africa, women in Nigeria, women without a voice, women with aspirations that now know that they can go much higher than I have gone and I can tell you that the 38th floor (UN deputy chief’s office) is pretty high but you can go higher than that.”
“I want you to keep my feet on the ground, to keep my feet to the fire and to constantly remind me why it is I am on the 38th floor helping to make the difference in the world because without you, I will not be able to succeed.
“You are the only ones that can tell me the truth and how it is. Please my sisters, the very least that I will expect from you is that you tell me the truth at all times.
“That way, when I come back, I can say yes, Nigeria, Africa actually left a footprint and made the difference. I will be really happy to hear that.
“I want to assure you that my doors are open. Doors will remain open,” the immediate past Minister of Environment, who was appointed on Dec. 15 but assumed her new position on Feb. 28, said.
Some Nigerians who attended the dinner included the representative of the First Lady, Dr Hajo Sani, Executive Director of UN Fund for Population Activities, Babatunde Osotimehin, wives of Governors and Commissioners, who were in New York for the CSW.
Nigeria’s acting ambassador to the UN, Mr Anthony Bosah, Head of Chancery, Dr Cyprian Heen and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, also attended the dinner, among others.