Nigerians in diaspora have praised the appointment of the immediate past Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE), Hon Kenneth Chibuogwu Gbandi, as the Deputy National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), one of Nigerian opposition parties.
With the appointment, announced in a letter jointly signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary of the party, Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu and Alhaji Said Baba Abdullahi respectively, Gbandi was also named member of the National Working Committee of the ADC, its highest policy-making organ.
Gbandi, who handed over as Chairman of NIDOE on Saturday, 14 November after spending two 2-year terms at the helm of the organisation, is now responsible for Diaspora Engagement at the ADC.
“The ADC as a political organisation appears to be indicating that in the discourse around Diaspora repositioning and empowerment for national development impact, they have risen far above Diaspora Voting,” Hon Collins Nweke, a communal politician in Belgium, said in his reaction to the appointment.
“While other parties romance with these slogans, ADC appears to lead the way. This is huge; it is commendable!” Nweke, a former Chairman of NIDOE who is a Councillor in the Belgian town of Ostend, added.
“Congratulations, my dear Hon Kenneth Gbandi for this landmark achievement. I saw it coming that those who appreciate your robust engagement skills will pluck you before it is too late. You deserve this appointment,” Lola Visser Mabogunje, a development policy expert based in the Netherlands, said in a congratulatory message.
“The appointers are not only smart but were led by the spirit to place you in that position. They are very wise to tap from your skills and knowledge,” Barrister Georgian Opara, London-based legal practitioner and newly-elected General Secretary of NIDOE, said in her message greeting the appointment.
“Congratulations, Hon Kenneth Gbandi. From European Continental Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora to Global Nigerian Diaspora Political Leader,” Oluwasegun Afe, CEO of Visual Media Group, said in his comments.
Other congratulatory messages have been issued by, among other eminent persons, Ambassador Abdul Rimdap, former Nigerian envoy to Germany and Austria, Dr RosaLyn Dressman, President of NIDO Germany, and Ambassador Joseph Ayalogu, one-time Nigerian chief diplomat in Switzerland.
Nigeria has six geopolitical zones. By designating the Nigerian Diaspora as its 7th zone, the ADC said it provides “Nigerians in the diaspora the over-due and all-important opportunity to participate in the highest decision-making organ of ADC, to assure Diaspora political participation at all levels of the polity and to avail ADC varied and sophisticated knowledge from across continents”.
In the letter of appointment sent to Gbandi, the ADC said:
“Our decision follows your track records and expertise in Diaspora organising and leadership.
“We have followed your life of service and leadership as the President of Nigerians in Diaspora Germany (NIDO Germany) and the continental Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Europe (NIDO Europe).
“The accomplishments of the Nigerians in the Diaspora during the years of your leadership are phenomenal.
“ADC will like you to replicate the same feat in your new position as we hope to build the biggest and most resourceful diaspora network across the globe.
“We like to inform you that, ADC is currently the 3rd largest political party in Nigeria in terms of national spread, and the 4th in elected persons. We hope that with ADC-DN, your appointment will interface properly with Nigerians in Diaspora across the 5 continents to embrace the party and become a catalyst in the transformation of our country Nigeria.”
In his first reaction to the appointment, Gbandi said: “I will be addressing the Diaspora in the next days with respect to this appointment. I also wish to use this golden opportunity to ask for Diaspora prayers and support as we address issues that are important to Nigerians in Diaspora including but not limited to security of all Nigerian lives home or abroad, Diaspora Voting 2023, Constitutional Review, youth unemployment and capacity building, international cooperation etc.”
The ADC hopes to tap into the general disenchantment of Nigerians living abroad with the political and economic situation of their homeland and position itself as the party of choice for the Diaspora. Gbandi, a veteran of Nigerian diaspora politics is expected to bring in his immense organisational talent to making the ADC achieve its lofty objective.
Gbandi, the first chairman of NIDOE to spend two 2-year terms since the founding of the group in 2000, is a Hamburg-based media entrepreneur and communal politician. Publisher of the African Heritage, a magazine dedicated to promoting African culture in Europe, he is also the Director of the German-African Information Centre.
Moreover, Gbandi has served on the Foreigners’ Advisory Council of Hamburg and was for three years chairman of its Anti-Discrimination Committee.