For the first time, 100 persons were inducted into the Nigerian Diaspora Global Hall of Fame on Saturday, 28 July at a colourful ceremony in London. It was the final event of the 3-day Nigerian Diaspora Global Development Conference, the first of its kind.
Among those inducted into the Hall of Fame were Dr John George, entrepreneur and founder of Rotex Group (Ukraine/Nigeria); Dr Alistair Soyode, founder of BEN TV London; Prof Brando Okolo, engineer and university researcher (Germany); Barrister Samuel Adewusi (USA); Chief Bimbo Roberts Folayan (UK); Prof Adetunji Adeleke (USA); Pastor Ibrahim Abarshi, development and migration expert (Netherlands); Engr. Oluyemi Ogundele of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna (Austria); and Femi Awoniyi, publisher of The African Courier (Germany).
Speaking at the event, Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE), said the inauguration of the Hall of Fame was to aptly recognise Nigerians both at home and abroad who have advanced the interests of Nigerians in the Diaspora. He praised the inductees, who in their various walks of life, had made enormous contributions to the Diaspora capacity to positively affect the development of Nigeria.
Other inductees into the Hall of Fame were Dr Bashir Obasekola (Russia), Dr Dayo Olomu (UK); Dr Rosalyn Dressmann, CEO of AfricanTide Union, a social enterprise (Germany); Hon. Colins Nweke, politician (Belgium); Dr Lawrence Nweke (Italy), Mrs Esther Onelemenmen (Ireland); Prof Charles Nwoko (Finland); and Engr. Oluwole Ajala (France).
Kenneth Alaekwe was post-humously inducted into the Hall as well. A minute silence was observed in memory of the former president of the German chapter of NIDO, who was a director at Marcus Evans Germany at the time of his untimely demise on 17 February at the age of 55.
Diplomats and legislators in Nigeria were also among the inductees, honoured for their service to the Nigerian Diaspora. Among such persons inducted into the Hall of Fame were Alhaji Abdul Rimdap, a former Nigerian ambassador to Austria and Germany; HE Yussuf Maitama Thuggar, Nigeria’s current ambassador to Germany; HE Chief George Oguntade, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the UK; Hon. Rita Orji, chairperson of the Diaspora Committee of the Federal House of Representatives; Senator Rose Oko; HE Vivian Okeke, Nigeria’s envoy to Austria; and Mr Joseph Ayalogu, former ambassador to Switzerland.
The Gala Night, at which the awardees were inducted into the Hall of Fame and which featured a live performance by Tony Tuclan among other artistes, was attended by guests from across the globe, making it an event to be remembered for a long time.
Nigerian Diaspora Global Development Conference, which took place from 26-28 July in the British capital, brought together eminent Nigerians to discuss topical issues as they affect the development of their home country.