The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE) will hold its annual general meeting on 10-14 November in Rome, Italy. A new central executive committee that will run the organisation for the next two years will also be elected during the gathering.
In this second part of the exclusive interview with The African Courier, Dr Bashir Olalekan Obasekola, the Chairman of NIDOE, who is seeking re-election, talks about the crisis in the Ireland chapter, he lists the achievements of the organisation under his charge and he reveals what he has in store if given a second term.
What has NIDOE achieved under your leadership?
Having been in the organisation almost from the beginning, I believe that if we are able to achieve internal cohesion and discipline, NIDOE would be able to achieve a lot and entice more resourceful persons into its membership.
Under my leadership, I can note the following remarkable achievements which go along my mission to restore the goodwill, efficiency, strength and respect for NIDOE through inclusiveness, unity, transparency, advocacy, motivation and patriotism of members:
- Youth inclusion: We launched NIDOE-Youth in June 2021 to encourage more youth membership of the organisation
- Reduction of Membership Dues and Chapter Validation fees to make it less financially burdensome to be a consistent member of the organisation
- Inclusion and collaboration with sports icons in the diaspora in Europe to leverage on their goodwill
- Inclusive participation and widening of the management base of NIDOE through the establishment of committees with participation of resourceful members of the organisation.
- Democratisation of chapters to change the old tendency of a chapter chair staying in office far more than their normal tenure. We will continue to push for this across the board to mitigate against “sit-tight” chapter leaders.
- Women inclusion: A committee on women affairs has been established to encourage and boost membership and activeness of women in NIDOE.
What is the state of the chapters and what has been relating with them?
It is said that a “house divided against itself, cannot stand”; hence, as soon as we resumed office, we took head-on all the internal crises inherited from the previous administration. Largely, we have been able to reduce the crisis-ridden chapters to only one or two.
Despite the attempt by some individuals, mainly for selfish and ignorant reasons, to fan the embers of division between the NIDOE Central and its Chapters, the relationship has continued to be mutually respectful.
As a former 2-term Chapter Chair, I perfectly understand how important it is not to be overbearing on Chapters and the need to give the Chapters freedom to showcase themselves within the general and united purpose of NIDOE. Therefore, I promote and facilitate the Chapters’ self-esteem.
There’s still the crisis in Ireland. What do you hold responsible for it and could such crises be avoided in other chapters in the future?
Ireland is one of the oldest chapters of this organisation. There are lot of resourceful Nigerians in Ireland and therefore, a potentially good chapter for our mission and vision as an organisation. However, there are always interpersonal issues within the chapter that fan ember of unity.
Unfortunately, some of the characters involved remain the same throughout these years. The only thing that changes is the side they belong to at any particular crisis.
So, the current crisis is not new at least if we count from the past five years in Ireland. When we came on board in November 2020, we inherited the initial phase of the crisis. We, in collaboration with the Nigeria Embassy in Dublin, tried to unite all the parties in the Chapter; and eventually a Caretaker Committee was set up to hold an election for a substantive Executive Council.
In June 2021, the election was held and we were happy and thought peace had finally been brought to Ireland. Unfortunately, barely 3 months later another crisis started and brought us to where we are today.
Anyway, it is always painful for me to talk about this because of the time and energy we in the Board of NIDOE have committed to it. Now we are forced to invoke the provision of our constitution that allows us to take-over the management affairs of the chapter until lasting peace and unity is brought to the chapter. We are hopeful and look forward to a unified Ireland chapter.
You are seeking a second term. What would you like to accomplish if reelected?
The major task ahead is the continuation of the organizational development of NIDOE, its inclusiveness and transparency and projects’ enhancement. Life has also shown us some that the challenges and bottlenecks in our system will require some tinkering with the constitution.
I am sure that continuity will afford us the opportunity to make a turn-around to the operations of the organisation so that it will continue to provide the enabling platform to harness and galvanise the human and investment resources of the Nigerians in diaspora for homeland development.
More professional and persons of resource will be proud to become part of the organisation. NIDOE is not a business venture, but a platform to encourage and assist our members and partners to access the investment climate of Nigeria with ease and assurance, so will continue to pursue that.