Nigeria’s high commissioner commends Kika Otiono for high academic achievement in Canada
On behalf of the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun, has commended multiple award-winning Delta State-born Kika Otiono for her “most sterling academic accomplishment.”
The envoy’s commendation is contained in a special congratulatory letter sent to the first-year medical student of DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, Canada, who stunningly graduated from her third year with a University Senate Medal for “excellent overall standing while a student at Carleton University.”
In the letter dated July 12 and shared exclusively with The Guardian, Ambassador Asekun writes: “It has been brought to our attention that you have been awarded a University Senate Medal for “excellent overall standing while a student at Carleton University” . You graduated with High Distinction and to achieve this feat your final Bachelor’s graduation GPA was 11.80 out of 12 (Carleton) or 3.98 out of 4 (General)! This resulted in your having graduated with a First Class or sum ma cum laude standing.”
She was in the B. Hum Humanities & Biology programme, which was changed to the B.A. with a Minor in Biology for her graduation from her third year. Asekun appreciated Kika “for giving us something to smile about at a time when we desperately need things to make us smile.”
He stressed that together with his colleagues at the Nigeria High Commission and his family members he was praying “for exceptional grace and divine enablement” as Kika pursues her career as a medical student, concluding that Kika “will surely excel by God’s grace in whatever area of specialization you decide to embrace.”
It would be recalled that Ms. Otiono’s road to her current outstanding achievement is paved with numerous academic and leadership awards in Canada.
Daughter of journalist and Carleton University’s Professor Nduka Otiono and wife, Onyisi Otiono, a financial advisor with one of the major banks in Canada, her honours include: National Science and Engineering Research Council Undergraduate Science Research Award (2018); TD Canada Trust Scholarship for Community Leadership (2016); Carleton University SHAD Valley Scholarship for Excellence (2016); First Place Winner, RBC National Black History Month Essay Competition (2016); Black History Ottawa, Community Builder Award for Youth Leadership (2016); Government of Ontario, Outstanding Volunteer Award – Orleans Ward (2016); and Nigeran Canadian Association of Ottawa (NCAO) Outstanding Educational Achievement Award (2019).
Kika is currently the Director of Advocacy, Black Medical Students Association of Canada. She combines academic excellence with strong volunteering and community service and has distinguished herself in service to her alma mater — Carleton University and Colonel By Secondary School—as well as to her community in Ottawa. At Colonel By she coordinated the Black History Month showcase. At Carleton she was involved in numerous initiatives that included founding Carleton Women in Medicine and Science of which she was the inaugural president; serving in various capacities at the College of Humanities: treasurer and assistant editor of the annual literary journal, NORTH, and chairing the College of Humanities Colloquium Committee. Kika was also involved as a department representative on Carleton Academic Student Government, while working at Undergraduate Recruitment as a Tele-counselor and at the Centre for Student Academic Success as a Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) Facilitator.
Kika’s service to community extends beyond school to her Nigerian community where she is noted for her selfless commitment to mentoring younger children and actively participating in socio-cultural events. She has featured as compere of the Nigeran Canadian Association of Ottawa (NCAO) headline event of 2018. As youth guest speaker at the Igbo Day 2017 Ottawa-Canada, she presented a paper on the Nigerian civil war. Kika is also active at her community churches where she features as a chorister as well as a lector.
Fully aware of the role of the media in advocacy, Kika contributes articles to Nigeria’s leading online newspapers, Premium Times and Sahara Reporters, as well as serves as Youth Editor for Black Ottawa Scene, Canada’s capital region prime online news-features journal.
Recognising Kika’s exceptional performance, Ambassador Asekun remarked, “this year being the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence would have afforded us a good opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate this phenomenal feat on your part.” But regrettably, “with the Covid19 pandemic ravaging the globe we are not entirely sure how we are likely to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.”
Asekun, however, assured Kika of the High Commission’s “determination to celebrate what you have accomplished.”