October 10, 2021

Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation faults non-constitution of NIDCOM Board

By Victoria Ojeme

The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) has blamed the rising diaspora-based secessionist agitations on the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute the board of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) in accordance with the commission’s enabling Act. 

According to Kenneth Gbandi, the immediate past Continental Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe, and current Deputy Chairman of African Democratic Congress Party ADC, the fault for the rising secessionist moves is “squarely on the shoulders  of the APC- led administration and their failure to properly constitute NIDCOM Board.”

Under the NIDCOM Act, NIDO is expressly stated as the representative of the organised Nigerian diaspora and the organisation is expected to nominate 12 members to the governing board of NIDCOM. However, since the inauguration of the Commission more than a year ago, its Board has not been appointed by the President as provided in the Act. Moreover, it’s the view of members of NIDO that the Diaspora has not been carried along in the management of NIDCOM.

NIDOE is the continental umbrella organisation for Nigerians in Europe with a chapter network in 23 countries. With continental arms of NIDO in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa, the organization is the largest assembly of Diaspora Nigerians worldwide.

Speaking on the allegations that the Diaspora was fueling crises in Nigeria, Gbandi said the inability of the federal government  of Nigeria to partner properly with the Diaspora community under NIDO Leadership was responsible for the secessionist agitations springing from the foreign. He recalled warning the government that such a situation was a time bomb that would likely explode.

Gbandi who was  then Continental European Chairman and  co-coordinating Chairman of NIDO Worldwide, recalled writing several such letters to  the federal government on the urgent need to constitute NIDCOM’s Board  as stipulated  by the commission’s establishment Act with full Diaspora representation through NIDO Worldwide.

One of such appeals was written on the July 27, 2020, to Dr. (Senator) Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, Chairman of Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, who was before then the Chairman of Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non Governmental Organizations(NGOs), pleading with him to use his good office to put  necessary pressure  on his colleagues and the government for the full constitution of NIDCOM board according to the NIDCOM’s Bill. 

He reminded him that the global NIDO was a rallying point for most Nigerians in Diaspora who still believe in the country and the power of the Diaspora to effect positive homeland development initiatives and needed reforms.

Gbandi also cautioned that NIDO was a buffer zone to Nigerians in Diaspora, far from organizing themselves along ethnic lines which will  result in ethnic allegiances to the detriment of the country. In his words, “For the love  of Nigeria, Sir, l plead with you to use your good office and contact  to stop the marginalisation and politicization of NIDO.”

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Gbandi highlighted the danger of a toothless and collapsed NIDO and a structured Nigerian Diaspora along ethnic lines and ideology, noting that it will be a huge and unimaginable disaster as a patriotic and professional global Diaspora community.

He added that both dedicated Nigerians in Diaspora and the government may be unable to withstand the pending assault from individuals and organizations taking advantage of the weak and fractured Diaspora community under NIDO leadership to toe a different view unchallenged.  

In the letter, Gbandi had further urged the lawmaker  to reflect on his appeal as patriotic and  a clarion call aimed at helping to  mobilize the house into action. He said that moral fabric of the  Diaspora  under NIDO will be greatly  dampened,  considering the many unpleasant incidents in Nigeria. 

A similar appeal was also made to the Chairperson House Committee on Diaspora, that the sad politicisation of NIDO had now given rise to  strong ethnic and regional groupings.

Recall that NIDO Europe sought  legal opinion from human rights  lawyer, Femi Falana  on the  representation of NIDO in NIDCOM’s board, culminating in a letter written to the President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, supporting NIDO Europe’s position.