Nigerian delegates in a group called Education Development Opportunities (EDO) Incorporated has led a trade mission to the city of Oakland and Northern California, United States of America, to forge strong bilateral trade between both countries.
In a statement issued and made available to THISDAY, the trade mission, which was organised by the President Oakland/Benin-City Sister Cities, President and founder, EDO Inc, Mr. Osagie Enabulele, was to encourage business and economic development, infrastructural development, tourism, partnership and strengthen ties between the two nations in order to enhance economic development.
The statement added that the delegation in its courtesy visit to the Mayor of Oakland, California, Mayor Jean Quan, presented a City of Oakland Proclamation in honour of Oakland/Benin-city Sister Cities 2nd Anniversary and proclaimed November 30 as 'Omo n'Oba Edo Uku Akpolokpolo' or 'Oba of Benin Day'.
The mayor also acknowledged the contributions of Enabulele who was formerly commissioner of Parks and Recreation in Oakland for being innovative, saying that Oakland is the first Sister City of Benin-City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Dignitaries present at the event include the Managing Director Hexagon Network Limited, Edo State, Nigeria and son to Oba Erediauwa, Prince Omoregbe Erediauwa, and the Isekhure of Benin Kingdom, Edo State, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure. Erediauwa and Isekhure thanked the Mayor, for her works, and recognising her for her accomplishment of being the first female Mayor of Oakland.
The Benin delegation promised to visit the City of Oakland in 2013, working closely with Enabulele to heighten their involvement in the programme. The delegation visited Pangaea Global Aids Foundation in honour of commemorating World AIDS Day, while a reception and community gathering was held also at Studio One Arts Centre in Oakland.
The delegation later attended the Oakland Raiders game in commemoration of World AIDS Day. According to the statement, this was the first time that testing was done in a National Football Game in the USA.
Through Enabulele and Ms. Vashone Huff's efforts to get screened Oakland and Bay Cares, the Oakland Raiders donated 7,500 condoms, and had a free HIV testing before the game.
Also present at the event, the HIV/Aids Regional Resource Coordinator, US Department of Health and Human Services, Adriann McCall, the Nurses Children Foundation, Leslie Silket, RN, Prince Erediauwa, Chief Isekhure, Dr. Nosakhare Imarayi, Dominic Agboje, Vashone Huff, Get Screened Oakland; Gloria Crowell-Cox, Allen Temple Aids Ministry; Ses Solitani and Dale Gluth of Aids Health Care Foundation.
The Vice Mayor/Councilmember, District 3, Nancy Nadel, presented a City of Oakland City Council Proclamation in recognising and honouring Oakland/Benin Sister City Anniversary Day at Oakland City Hall, while the City of Oakland acknowledged and praised the work of Enabulele for bridging the cultural gap between Nigerians and the City of Oakland.
The dignitaries visited the California State Capitol - the Governor's office, Lieutenant Governor's office, and also the tourism industry in Sacramento, California and later members of the Nigerian and Edo communities were introduced to City Council President Larry Reid and Council Members at the Oakland City Council Meeting.
Isekhure also addressed the City Council and the City of Oakland residents, and promised to be back again in 2013 with a fuller delegation.
The Alameda County also gave certificates of commendation to the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Uyi Igbe, Princess Theresa Erediauwa, Prince Erediauwa, Chief Isekhure, and Enabulele, welcoming them to Alameda County and recognising their contributions to the Nigerian community in the Bay Area.
The statement added that for nearly ten years, through EDO, Enabulele has consistently brought the rich tradition and culture of Nigeria to the City of Oakland, and Northern California by hosting successful events, including Black History celebrations, Town Hall forums on - Glaucoma, Nigerian/PAN African Gala, and promoting the sister city relationship.