From left- right: Ambassador of Czech Republic H.E. Zdeněk Krejci; Honourary Consul H.E. Dr Ajoritsedere Josephine Awosika; Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa; Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Sanwo- Olu and Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, founder and chairman of Coronation Capital Limited at the event held yesterday in Lagos.
BY NKECHI NAECHE-ESEZOBOR—With plans to deepen economic ties and build bridges of corporations, the Czech Republic has opened its Honorary Consulate office in Lagos.
The event which took place in Lagos recent, attracted dignitaries from across Nigeria and members of the diplomatic core.
Prominent among those present include the former President of Nigeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo; the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Sanwo-Olu ; first class monarchs from Delta and Ondo State and captains of industry.
Speaking at the event, President Obasanjo said that Czech Republic has been a strong supporter of Nigeria from independence.
“Czech is one of the first countries to recognize Nigeria at independence. Over the the years we have done business together.
In terms of trade he said ” you have traded across our borders. You have produced what we take delight in importing from you. We haven’t produced enough to send to you. One of the reasons why am particularly happy is the Honorary Consul to make sure we now produce enough to send to you, so that trade between us can become balanced.”
He added that “they haven’t been enough traveling or exchange of people between our two countries. We can have more and if this Honorary Consulate office will be empowered to issue visas then we will have more Nigerians visiting Czech Republic for business and on other important matters.
He said the appointment of Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika, as Honorary Consul of Czech Republic in Lagos will be a period of new opportunities, achievements, new attainment and a period that we all in Nigeria will say there is increase in economic transactions, trade transactions, increased diplomatic relations between both countries.
Also, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Sanwo-Olu commended the Czech Republic for siting the building in Lagos.
According to him Lagos is a state that is attracted by many.
He also applauded the appointment of an outstanding woman, adding that the appointment is well deserved.
Speaking further, the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, said “We are witnessing a shift in focus and a strategic plan by Czech Republic to further strengthen the relationship both diplomatic and bilateral with Nigeria.”
Speaking further on trade he said “much has not been done. For example in 2018 the total trade amount between Czech Republic and Nigeria was about 45 million dollars and in 2021 about 65 million dollars, although an improvement but it can still be better. “
The Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, however was optimistic that with the opening of the Consulate office in Lagos and the appointment of Dr. Awosika as Honorary Consular, it will definitely strengthen the relationship that have been existing before now.
In his remark, Ambassador of Czech Republic H.E. Zdeněk Krejci, stated that this is a milestone in both countries relationship.
“We are missing quite a lot not having our representation in Lagos. Lagos is the leading center in many areas.
He assured that moving forward there will be more collaboration and engagement with both countries.
In her welcome address Dr. Awosila said:“Today we are building stronger ties. We are reconstructing boundaries of human relations, market boundaries, changing the conversation where opportunities resides on all sides, whether Czech or Nigeria.
“We are opening up a new value frontier that will bring us into an ecosystem that is mutually beneficial. We are all doing a collective building from confidence. Do we have more confidence that Czech Republic?. I believe Czech Republic has more confidence in Nigeria. Not the wrong story, not the online story, we have great people, so proud, so greatly so, able to do a lot of things more than we can image or think.
“We are building this confidence and we going to unlock our thinking beyond cultural barriers, because the culture is not a barrier. We make it a barrier. It makes us a person who God has created us to be. You didn’t choose where we came from. I didn’t choose Warri, I just found myself born and I was there. Why should I then be a barrier.?
“If there is any message I will like you to take as you leave here today, is that your culture is not a barrier, especially as politics is coming. We are talking about things that are so irrelevant, that personal instead of things that will aid us to be able to produce, you are talking about irrelevant things.”
The occasion also featured the presentation of Honorary Consul certificate to Dr. Awosika.