“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
Ralph Waldo Emerson. That is truly Bianca’s case. Before she came to Spain as an ambassador, Spain held little or no appeal to head of missions and diplomats. But today after her work, Spain has become a hot cake, a beautiful bride and a delight for all would be ambassadors. It has become one of the most sought after destination in the world desirable by all the old and new ambassadors waiting for new diplomatic assignments and postings. And whoever that would be coming after her, would have less to accomplish but would really have much to do to sustain the structures she has already put in place for the welfare of Nigerian citizens in the kingdom of Spain.
Some people are born or groomed up to be more equal than others. Not in the balanced principles of doctrine of humanity before Deity and the law but in the significant imparts, visions they uphold, and contributions they make in their life and time. Bianca, as ambassador was a discovery, a revelation in the history of Nigerian ambassadors to Spain as none has made an indelible mark and accomplishments more than she did. And her footprints will always remain in the sand of time in the kingdom of Spain. She served a multi-purpose role and character to Nigerians in Spain. She was the Florence Nitingale the lady with lamp, saving lives. She was the mother Teresa, giving hope to thousands of her compatriots. And the good shepherd who cared for her flock.
During her three years of exciting and memorable stint as ambassador, Bianca had answer to the needs of Nigerians in Spain. Through her laudable activities Bianca’s presence and fame loomed all over Spain and beyond, and she was like a sweet song in the lips of Nigerians, Africans and a delight to the Spanish. She towered high above all other African ambassadors in the kingdom of Spain. According to the Kenyan and Gambian ambassadors in Spain, Bianca is not just a Nigerian ambassador but African ambassador, we are so proud of her. That was even before she won the award as the best and most outstanding African ambassador in Europe in 2014. Like the queen of Sheba, from Austria, Holland, London, Germany and other parts of Europe, Nigerians trooped in to herald Bianca’s magic wand in Spain. Engrossed in her job, day and night did not make any difference to her as far as duty called.
It’s not the number of years that one occupies in a position that counts, but the ones occupied how much was gained. Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu’s three years were indeed gain for Nigerians in Spain. In what way one may ask. But in many ways. I would start the chronicles of her feats in Spain by making reference to the symbolic connotation of the veil of the tabernacle during the history of Israel in the wilderness. The veil was a barrier to make sure that man could not irreverently enter into God’s awesome presence. A place no ordinary person could enter. So the presence of God remained shielded from God’s own people. However Jesus death on the cross changed that and the veil was thorn in half paving way for God’s presence to be accessible to all His people. Bianca removed all barriers that made the embassy inaccessible to Nigerians. And she made Nigerians who before dreaded to come to the embassy because of the way they were treated, to realize that the embassy is their last sanctuary and she said to them, come, we are here to serve you. Among the things Bianca would be remembered for in Spain are.
She made Nigerians to obey the laws of the host country and Spain in return to respect the rights of Nigerians in their midst.
She stopped the deportation of Nigerians by Spain without proof of evidence of having certified all the due process binding the two countries in that respect. In one occasion, she ordered a Spanish security officer out of her office for asking her to sign a document for deportation of some Nigerians. The officer who said that’s how they used to do that before was dumb founded when she asked for the court order and proof of all other applicable measures that must be fulfilled before that could be carried out.
In another occasion, on getting report about a Nigerian citizen that was deported without the due process, after investigations, she prevailed on the Spanish authorities to repatriate the citizen back to Spain. A rare feat unheard of by any Nigerian mission anywhere.
She reduced the price of passport fee for Nigerians in Spain.
She arranged for Nigerian police to come to Spain to prepare police report, a requisite for obtaining Spanish residence permit thereby alleviating the problems Nigerians who do not have legitimate documents to travel to Nigeria may encounter in that respect. Subsequent to that, to save Nigerians of the pains of the police report, she made a strong case on the need for the Spanish authority to issue a certificate of good conduct as an alternative for the police report. A matter which is receiving favorable attention by the Spanish government before her exit.
She rescued and recovered dozens of Nigerian children whom their parents due to their economic down turn, involuntarily handed over their siblings to the Spanish people for adoption. She said to them these are Nigerian citizens we need them. And these children sometimes with their parents were taken back to their families in Nigeria. Also she rescued dozens of Nigerians who were wasting away there lifetime, living as destitutes and have lost hope in life. Like a mother who cannot forget her suckling child, she recovered dozens of such Nigerian citizens from the streets of Spain and sent them back to their families in Nigeria for rehabilitation.
Bianca made it possible that in the event of deportation of any Nigerian by the Spanish government, his properties and all he has labored for was secured and handed over to him before he is taken back to Nigeria.
She established an emergency rapid response team. A crack squad of embassy staff who responded rapidly to cases of Nigerians in dire need of attention and assistance in all parts of Spain. This squad visited Nigerians in detention, prisons, and death incidents, among others and made sure that they were not unjustly detained or their rights acts citizens infringed upon.
She visited instantly the spot of a murdered Nigerian girl in Bilbao (Ada Otua) by a Spanish Shaolin martial arts master. And she made the authorities concerned to realize that the life of any Nigerian citizen is valued much and ensured that adequate compensation was given to the victim’s family and adequate punishment given to the culprit according to the law.
She renovated the Nigerian embassy and chancery buildings and made them befitting structures comfortable for the citizens staff and diplomats alike.
Bianca reached out to Nigerians in Spain by holding town hall meetings where she had interactive sessions addressing their problems and educating them to make the best use of opportunies offered by the host country to improve their lives and to always remember that Nigeria is their home. Time and space will fail me to continue to highlight on the numerous giant strides and feats the dynamic ambassador accomplished in Spain.
The news about Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu‘s exit was like sunset at dawn to Nigerians in Spain. There was gloom all over their countenances. Many wished that it was a dream not comes true. Who else would do for us what Madam has done for us some asked? She was so nice. No doubt, Nigerians in Spain would really miss her while her footprints will ever remain in the sand of time.