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‘I feel privileged to be asked to serve in UK government’

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Nero Ughwujabo

Last week, a Nigerian, Mr Nero Ughwujabo, from Agbon Kingdom in Ethiope East Local Council of Delta State assumed office as the Special Adviser on Social Justice, Young People and Opportunities in the Office of Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom. This was a rare and outstanding feat. He is an exemplar of what a Nigerian should be. In this online interview with SAMSON EZEA, Ughwujabo spoke on his sojourn in United Kingdom (UK), his appointment and other issues.

When did you leave Nigeria to UK and what informed your decision?
I left Nigeria for the United Kingdom at a young age in 1990 to join my eldest brother whom I had been living with in Nigeria. It was a family decision.

What have you been doing in UK before now?
I completed all my formal education in the UK, starting with secondary and college education before proceeding to the University of Reading, where I obtained a degree. Later, I enrolled and successfully completed an MBA degree programme.

I have since then worked with the civil society sector, as a Chief Executive of a body which supports other civil society organisations. This role also involved representing the views and concerns of Black and Minority ethnic people both at the local, regional and national levels.

How do you get the appointment to serve as Special Adviser on Social Justice, Young People and Opportunities in the office of Prime Minister Theresa May?
With humility, I have been known for campaigning on issues of discrimination and inequalities; and have been part of national networks that deal with these sorts of issues. I had previously had constructive engagements and discussions with the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, on what to do about race disparities and how to work with communities to identify or evolve solutions. This year I was offered a formal appointment opportunity to work on these issues at the heart of Her Majesty’s Government and I accepted.

How do you feel being appointed to serve in this capacity and what does the job demands of you?
I feel privileged to be asked to serve. Social justice and young people have been my passion for over 20 years. I have worked and lived these issues for a long time and believe strongly that government has a role in addressing such issues. That is why I am delighted to be opportuned to be in a position to advance these issues at this level.

What are your political cum leadership exploits in UK before now?
I have never seen myself as a politician, but I do understand and value the place and importance of politics and political leadership in society. I have never held a political office but have worked with politicians of all colours to advance the causes of ordinary citizens, who aspire for a better life and better outcomes for themselves and their families.

Are you thinking about coming home to serve Nigeria one day?
In many ways, I do already serve Nigeria my country of birth and many developing nations. I am quite involved in global debates that positively impact many nations of the world and this includes Nigeria as the most populous black nation in the world.

I will continue to play positive roles and contribute to the national development of What was your growing up like?
That is a difficult question to answer! I grew up in a family with strong values of community service.  That is the value that most clearly defines me as a person, and which I try to put at the forefront of everything I do.

My commitment is always for the service of others, particularly those who are vulnerable; building stronger communities and working for the participation of all in the civic space.

What do you think is lacking in leadership in Nigeria and how can it be tackled?
Nigeria, like most developing nations, needs strong, committed and value-based institutional leadership and people who are committed to the nation before self.

Nigeria needs people who recognise the importance of a nation-building and positive legacy.  Fixing the challenges that face the nation is a task for both the leaders and the led; citizens must play their part in enthroning good leaders and in holding them to account.



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