Togo-based coordinator of Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM), Dr Williams Azuma Ijoma, was recently appointed Deputy President on Diplomatic Representative Affairs of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESC).
In this interview with our correspondent ROWENA CHUKUKA, he sheds light on some of the recent activities of the group.
You have just been appointed as a Deputy President on Diplomatic Representative Affairs of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESC); congratulations, and what is the background to this?
I served as the Chairman, Mali Chapter of the former greatest political movement in Africa, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) between 2000 and 2012. During that period, I also was coordinating for party in the West African sub Sahara region.
I remember being promised a position in the Nigerian government after I brought over five million Nigerians living in West Africa to vote for Obasanjo in the 2003 presidential elections. I was also concurrently running my non governmental organisation – Organisation Pour l’Intrgration Africaine’ (OIA) which means Organisation for African Integration.
The objective of OIA is to narrow the gap between the led and and the leaders; to mediate and promote peace in conflicting African nations; to promote regular migration and to encourage integration among African nations.
These activities actually made me travel to all African countries. I remember in 2010/11, we helped to stop the crises Mauritania, when the dark skinned Mauritanians were destroying government facilities because they were refused the issuance of international passports. Our one-week caravan for peace and non-violence ended the crises. Most part of my life was dedicated to humanitarian activities as my passion is to see people joyfully living in peace.
Some people may want to know; what is the major role of the council?
The United Nations Economic and Social Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN) responsible for the direction and coordination of the economic, social, humanitarian and cultural activities carried out by the UN’s largest and most complex subsidiary body.
Other responsibilities of UNESC is to accomplish the seventeen UN sustainable goals which include: no poverty, zero hunger, good Health and well-being, quality education, Gender equality, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, responsible consumption and productions, to mention but a few.
What other things of relevance are you involved in?
Well in 2013, I had a call and became a pastor in Togo after undergoing pastorial training, but then, I was still doing my humanitarian works through OIA as well as producing TV contents. In fact for the past four years my series are aired in the national television of Togo-TVT every Saturday and Sunday by 7.00 pm. As God would have it, I was appointed as UNESC chairman Togo three months ago and surprising, last month ending I was made the African Vice President.
Does the position with UNESC have a time limit or duration?
Yes the position has a time limit; it’s for a period of five years with an initial one year probation period. It has possible extension of a second tenure.
To date, what would you consider as your major accomplishments?
I have been involved in some other worthy causes, but my biggest achievement in the area of humanitarianism was when I facilitated peace moves over a crisis that was to lead to war in a foreign land – Mauritania in the year 2011.
I can still remember vividly as though it was yesterday. I approached a few organisations but they were waiting for sponsorships. When I saw that it would be too late waiting for such sponsorship to come, I emptied my account to sponsor the campaign for peace in the country. That was how God helped end the crises
With your new appointment are you relocating?
Well for now, I’m still in Togo where I reside. Relocating would be based on instructions from the leadership.
Are there other points of importance that you would like to talk about, especially on the basis of this new appointment?
My new appointment as Vice President of UNESC Africa is actually a good development. My knowledge about most African countries will be an added advantage to us in carrying out our activities in Africa. We are hungry to work, hence, our decision to create several humanitarian projects in several countries.
Come October 24th, being UN day, we shall be giving several awards to Africans who have contributed to the advancement of humanity in one special way or another.
We would be glad to help in covering and publicising such activities, once you contact us. Thank you for your time Sir.