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Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, Continental Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe, speaks out on the controversies surrounding the Nigerian Diaspora Day 2018 / Photo: AHM

Why we need to stand our ground on Nigerian Diaspora Day 2018, by Kenneth Gbandi

A Press Statement released by Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, Continental Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe, on Saturday 28 April 2018.

“There is nothing wrong with Nigeria/Diaspora that cannot be cured by what is right with Nigeria/Diaspora”

I am neither a praise singer nor a ‘Yes, Sir’ man. I have always followed my conviction courtesy of the grace and magnanimity of the wise counsel of fellow patriots to whom I will ever remain grateful.

I am not perfect and can’t be, but try very hard to be reliable, pragmatic and I am very passionate about the Diaspora and Nigeria.

The responsibility, for action or inaction, lies on the shoulder of the central executive council (CEC), consisting of men and women of integrity, whose chairman I am fortunate to be. Together with the NIDOE Board of Trustees we regularly engage the other continental NIDO bodies and other sister Diaspora organisations.

The historic International Edition of Diaspora Day London, UK, has come to stay.

After hundreds of hours of our collective precious time at the cost of being with our families and loved ones, and as professionals, people of integrity and custodians of international best practices, we disagree to agree on the following.

  1. Firstly, by a majority vote, NWW proposed for a change in the way Diaspora Day (DD) is celebrated. A DD celebration in the Diaspora was mooted as progressive and a necessity.
  2. All NIDO Europe Chapters (BOT) unanimously endorsed the NIDOWW initiative through a clear democratic process, leading to all the Chapters suspending all planned programs including ‘A Week in Nigeria’ by NIDOE UK South.
  3. This decision was reached after the SGF, NNVS and NASS did not object to this novelty idea i.e. DD 2018 taking place in the Diaspora to mobilize support for a new era of Diaspora engagement post-Nigerian Diaspora Commission. A letter was duly written to inform them about this.
  4. In the NWW meeting, where all the continental bodies that constitute the NIDO World governing council were represented, it was agreed that in the event of a last minute change of mind by the SGF or the NNVS, then a hybrid type of event will endure. This meant NWW’s concept of DD 2018 in Diaspora will still go ahead while we send delegates to Nigeria. We are convinced that not all Diasporans will be able to travel to Nigeria and not all Diasporans will be able to travel to London. This was accepted as a win-win solution.
  5. The current position by some individuals suggesting a disagreement in NWW is totally unpatriotic and uncalled for. The action of some of us is tantamount to what happens in Nigeria after elections. Once you lose an election you pull down others. It kept many of us wondering if some people actually have something to benefit by seeing us look divided. Most painful is it to see those who had held a leading position in this organization promoting such a notion.
  6. I did submit that over the years, successive NIDO world stakeholders have been plagued with series of crises and challenges that negatively impacted on NIDO from achieving their goals in furtherance of the objective behind the establishment of NIDO. Though the Nigerian Diaspora landscape has changed dramatically over the years influenced by the structure and disposition to NIDO by successive administrations in Nigeria, each of these changes have also presented the key NIDO stakeholders with different sets of new challenges on how to engage with them. Tackling these challenges has met different degrees of success and failure.
  7. I also concluded on the fact that the organisation is still standing today despite these daunting challenges and being explicitly mentioned in NIDCOM is an attestation of the resilient nature of our collective leadership past and present and our collective faith in the NIDO project. It is worthy of mention without being intimidated that some of the division that the organisation has faced are externally inspired to achieve a set objective.
  8. Some of the brightest minds in the Diaspora have reasoned that this DD and generally DD whether in Nigeria or in Europe or in both geographical regions should be seen as an opportunity for growth and not compete with each other. I am in total agreement. One of the driving ideas of the first International Edition of the DD 2018 in the UK is because some of our policy makers in Nigeria consider Diaspora people as unserious opportunists only looking for government appointments or patronage. We needed to correct such uncharitable and misguided impressions.

 

Signed, Kenneth Gbandi
Continental Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe

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