January 20, 2024

UK High Commissioner urges unity among Nigerians in Diaspora as OAU Alumni reunites

As members of the Central Association of Nigerians in the United Kingdom (CANUK) gathered for the end of the year Gala night, amid pomp and pageantry, the beauty of Nigeria’s multicultural diversity was on full display.

The colourful event held during the just concluded festive season at Regency Banqueting Suite, North London attracted eminent personalities including the acting High Commissioner, Cyprian Terseer Heen, the Mayor of London, represented by a Nigerian-born British Councilor, Michael Situ of Southwark Council, among other eminent personalities.

From left: Mr. John Samuel (Coordinator, NSSPF, UK) Councillor Micheal Shittu (the Mayor of Southwark); Mr. Andrew Oyedola (President, Nigerian Community in Cambridgeshire); Councillor Lester Buxton (the Mayor of Haringey) during the end-of-year/Dinner organised by CANUK, held at Regency Banqueting Suite, North London, recently.

CANUK members cut across regional, state associations, cultural groups, professional bodies, students’ groups and Alumni associations home and abroad.

Speaking to Vanguard on the event, the President of the Nigerian Community in Cambridgeshire and a leader of all Nigerian students’ Presidents tagged NSSPF (Nigerian Students Society Presidents Forum) in the UK, Mr. Andrew Oyedola expressed satisfaction about the event and how it led to a reunion with his fellow Great Ife (as Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife is fondly called) alumni like Dr. Kazeem Salam (CANUK Advisory Board Member) and Kayode Alatishe (Welfare Officer, Nigerians in Essex).

He further stated that the event encouraged NSSPF (a group also led by Mr. John Samuel) to use the forum to further unite all Nigerian students in the UK with the hope of registering under CANUK, where the students can network with experienced Nigerians.

The chairman of CANUK, Chief Ayo Akinfe in his remark expressed hope that 2024 will be better when he recalled that the association had a good year in 2023 despite some challenges. He said the Japa syndrome has created a big challenge for the association, causing what he described as a genuine case of destitution as many of them had no work to do.

According to him, “With the Japa problem, we now have a genuine case of destitution in our community. CANUK is now inundated with (job) calls. They always say, they were promised jobs and when they got here, the jobs were not there for them, or they were only offered two hours a week. This is a very important issue that all of us must join hands to address.”

He said further, “it was a tough year but CANUK despite the challenges, is still standing tall and waxing stronger. We look forward to a happy and prosperous new year (2024).” Also, the acting High Commissioner Cyprian Terseer Heen, PhD urged all Nigerians in the Diaspora to support one another for greater development, adding that “Our Ability to transcend religious and tribal differences is not only a testament to the resilience of our people but also, to the potentials we possess when we stand together as one community. He added that such unity could help to mitigate challenges facing Nigerians on standard employment, accommodation and permanent residency among others.

The duo of Oladapo Oloja and Rose Peter Graham who is the Producer/Presenter of Rose On All Sides on UK’s BEN Television and a former Presenter/ Producer with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Oladapo Oloja Oluwaseyi as comperes made the occasion a fun-filled night with the thrilling music from DJ Adeola, De Finess Sax.

The audience were thrilled with different cultural dances, showcasing Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage from different regions as well as providing a good ambience for reunions.

Eyo performance from Lagos as well as other different cultural troupes from east, west, middle belt and south south enthused participants. Other attractions include raffle draws as the best dressed individual went home with prizes.