By Adesina Wahab
The Nigerian and Canadian Business Network, NCBN and the cream of diplomatic corps in Canada have poured encomiums on the former Director General of the Pan Africa relationship at Global Affairs, Ambassador Paula Caldwell St Onge, as she retired from office.
Speakers, especially African diplomats, who graced the Garden Retirement Dinner recently held in her honour by the NCBN at the home of Mr. Wale Adesanya under the auspices of the Dean of diplomatic Corp, Ambassador Solomon Azoh-Nbi, took turns to pay their tributes to the outgoing DG for her supportive role to Africa in global affairs.
Azoh-Nbi, in his keynote address, gave Paula a pat on the back for her deep understanding of the problems and potentials of Africa.
“We have worked with Paula for many years of meritorious service to Africa and the world in general. We have known her for long and worked very closely with her in Canada-African relations. She has visited many of our countries and knows many of our people, problems and the potentials of the continent,” he said.
On his own part, the Minister for Trade and investment at Nigeria High Commission, Canada, Joseph Atodo, also speaking on behalf of Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun, commended Paula for her resourcefulness in promoting Canada-Africa relationship.
His words: “Paula is so very important to us in her resourcefulness in driving Canada-Africa relation. We are here to honour her. She is a wonderful and fantastic lady. And on behalf of his Excellency, High Commissioner, we at the High Commission of Nigeria in Canada wish Paula the very best in her future endeavour.”
Similarly, his South Africa counterpart, Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo, while narrating her experience of working with Paula said: “This is where we really have to thank you for always being there for Africa. I have been fortunate enough to work with you at professional and none professional levels.
You are always ready to listen, always ready to give advice. For instance, you have been able to give your advice in terms of repatriations; you have been able to give advice on issues of visa application for African people. You have always been there to give advice on almost everything. We thank you.”
In the same vein, Uganda’s High Commissioner to Canada, Joy Ruth Acheng, expressed strong commendation for the great service the outgoing DG had rendered to Africa at global level. She described her as a friendly and approachable colleague.
“I want to thank Paula for the great service she has done to the government of Canada and how she has served us as African diplomats and other Africans of different categories. She has been so great to us; she has been so friendly and approachable,” she said.
Director General for West and Central Africa and global affairs Canada, Tarik Khan, declared that Paula would be greatly missed for the passion with which she had served Africa in global affairs.
Responding, Paula thanked the organizers of the event for the honour accorded her and promised her continued support for Africa as well as diplomatic community. She also commended Mr Adesanya, the Chairman of NCBN, for making his home available for the get-together.
The event, which took place after COVIC-19 crisis in Ottawa, had in attendance other notable personalities from diplomatic community, including Ambassadors / High Commissioners of the following African countries: Cameroun, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Nigeria (Represented by Minister, Trade, Economics and Investments.
It was put together by NCBN, a network for promotion of business relationship between Nigeria and Canadian business community. The Ottawa group’s President, Elaye Otrofanowei, explains that the network is open to Nigerians and Canadians who are interested in doing business in both countries, adding there are lots of rewarding opportunities for investments for all prospective investors.
According to him, the network aims at helping in fostering business relations between Nigerian and Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs.