Nigerians in Germany Congress (NIGC) 2010 Three Years After!
Nigerians in Germany Congress
(NIGC) 2010: Three Years After!
African Heritage – HiBC Germany in collaboration with the Nigerian community Hamburg e.V., organized the first Nigerians in Germany Congress (NIGC), which took place on the 19th of June 2010, at Rosen Garden Hamburg.
The congress was designed to help stimulate ideas and interests through debates and intellectual interactions, on how best to revive the Nigerian Diaspora group in Germany economically, socially, professionally and politically.
Mr. A. L. Ayodele, Charge de Affairs /Minister Commerce, Embassy of Nigerian Berlin gave the key note address. He challenged Nigerians in Germany to come up with innovative ideas and programmes that would foster national development both within and outside Nigeria. Other speakers at the forum include Prof. Dr. E. Anyanwu, MD, PhD, FWACS, FACA, and Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgeon who presented a paper on the topic “The impact of a healthy Nation upon the development of a Country”. His paper treated the misfortune of limiting health to physical wellbeing. According to him, health spans through mental, spiritual as well as physical soundness. He traced societies that attained greatness and the preferred path of the leadership of such societies noting that, such zeal is non-existent in the Nigerian society because of a very unhealthy approach to basics of livelihood.
Dr Maurice C. Kwem-Fr. accountant, Deloitte & Touche GmbH, touched on the topic “The socio-economic development of Nigerians in Diaspora and its influence in Nigeria”. His presentation was located on the premise of the relevance of transparent accountability in nation building. Using a comparative analysis of the best practices of the Western world, he dealt a blow to the common trace of complacency by Nigerians to mismanagement of public funds and pointed a condemning finger at the Diasporas who should do better than sit and only complain. He recommended for a general adoption of models of information and communication technology that would ensure reliable data including; accurate number of Nigerians in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, financial allocations to the three tiers of government, accurate birth and death registers etc .He argued that the existence of such a data would ensure better accountability and reduce excessive cases of corruption which is aided by the non-availability of a comprehensive national data.
Chief Isaiah Ilikanu, a member of NCG Central Executive as well as member of NCG Hamburg elder’s forum addressed the issue of “Diaspora Engagement in the political Affairs of Nigeria”. He was philosophical in approach and gave an in depth analysis of the disconnect between the Diaspora and political participation in Nigeria. He wondered why the huge sums of money sent by the Diaspora that is amounting to $10 Billion in 2009 that translates to 5% GDP of Nigeria, cannot ensure the participation of this important group in politics in Nigeria.
Mr. A.L. Sidi – Minister, Consular & Immigration, Embassy of Nigeria Berlin talked on “The role of the Nigerian Embassy and consular services to Nigerian Citizens in Germany and its improvement”. His was an expose on the complexities of dealing with Nigerians especially in consular related matters and how the Embassy had in the past three years, maintained a high standard of honest representation and reliable service delivery. Complex as it may seem, he maintained that for the Nigerian Embassy, the Nigerian citizen comes first.
Miki Egba, who is a Doctorate Student in International Law, treated the topic; “Nigerian State: In search of common Identity and Nationhood”. His presentation was a display of semantics and legal definitions without loosing focus on the relevance of identity in nation building. His paper made particular emphasis on the Nigerian peculiarities in nation building in comparism to other societies. Mr. Egba, further helped to co-ordinate the congress by moderating the first session.
The first session, gave the participants enough intellectual ammunition to begin the second sessions, which was an open group discussion on selected matters of national relevance. The group discussions were moderated by; Dr. David Okeke, PhD, Mathematics & Statistics, Member Royal Statistics Society London; Kenneth Alakwe, Conference Consultant and Associate Publishers African Courier and Adeyemi Ademuyiwa, B.Eng., Dipl. Kaufmann, EXCEL (Consulting) Limited.
Before the commencement of the Group discussion, the conveyor and co-coordinator the congress Kenneth Gbandi made a passionate appeal to the participates not to let this be one of those usual fruitless meetings and tasked the participants to come up with practical ideas and solution how to move Nigerians in Germany forward.
Issues treated and suggestions proffered includes;
To solve the Problems militating against strong Nigerian community in Germany the congress proposed the following;-
1. Urged all Nigerians living in the Federal Republic of Germany to integrate themselves into the daily life of the country. Emphasis should be given to the study of the language and when and where possible join a political group
2. The congress urged all Nigerian organizations to immediately open a defined efficient and transparent means of communication across Germany and to extend such to the Embassy of Nigeria in Berlin. An internet portal was recommended. Also a regular annual meeting of all Nigerians is strongly recommended. Nigerians in Germany Congress should be regular and should be representative of the various groups comprising Nigerians in Germany
3. Lack luster Leadership in various Nigerian organizations has been identified as a major problem to effective mobilization of Nigerians in Germany. Persons with leadership potentials should be supported to assume the position of leadership regardless of place of origin and other issues of identity.
4. Tribalism was fingered as a major problem, wondering why tribal associations are more effective than national associations. Ways must be sought to integrate ethnic organization into national Nigerian Organizations
1. Nigerians should learn the Germany language as basis for all interaction and communication with the host country and basis to further their educational carrier. The congress believes that it is the beginning of self emancipation and awareness.
2. Networking of Nigerian professionals is strongly canvassed. They should join en-mass the different Nigerian Organizations to inject fresh ideas
3. The congress recommended a “Think Tank Group” to monitor progress made and to advice the various association within their area of domicile
4. Establishment of Nigerian community centre across Germany. This will help bridge the communication and flow of information and ideas amongst Nigerian
5. Regular workshops to deal on various issues within the community as they develop
1. Commitment to the new political dispensation in Nigeria by actively influencing the outcome in your constituency, through awareness and campaign donation
2. Adoption of a close working relationship with the embassy. The embassy should set up an effective and transparent channel of communication.
3. The community should actively involve the media both in Germany and in Nigeria to disseminate information regarding the program and activities of the Nigerians in Germany.
The list of the participants include:-
Adeyemi Ademuyiwa (Engineer), Bankole Alayande (Observer Embassy of Nigeria), Barrister Iyare Allen Imasi (law), Ben Agbodike (NCG-Hamburg), Benjamin Jacobs (statistician),Chief Don Kelly (Business), Chief Isaiah Ilikanu (Nigeria Community Leader), Chukwuma Maduba
D. Jacobs (Pastor & Author), Dr Maurice C. Kwem (Accountant), Dr. D. Kutchin (Consultant Cisco Networks), Dr. David Okeke (Mathematician), Dr. Victor Njimah (Business/Politician)
Eboh Lawrence (NCG-Hamburg), Egbuziem Chidi (NGO), Eme-Helen Paul (Journalist) Emmanuel Obi (business), Engr. B. Iyamu (Business), Joe Anaedo, Jörg Johnnsen (Business) Jude Ogunnaya( President NCG-Hamburg), Kenneth Alakwe (Consultant/ Associate Publisher), Kenneth Gbandi (Media/Publisher), M.A. Yomi, Miki Egba (Doctorate Student in International Law), Obiora Nweke (Policy Expert/Associate Publisher), Ogbeiwi Festus (Business), Princ Otii (Business), Prince Emetumah, Prof. Dr. E. Anyanwu (Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgeon), R. Ogheneburume (Elders Forum NCG-Hamburg), Roselyn Weber (Media), Rosemary Okafor, Stanley Onyemaonwu (Business), Adejumo Oyeleye
As the new President of NIDO Germany, Hon. Gbandi promised that his team will assist the Bi-national Commission by providing a professional resource pool in addition to focus on; increasing the visibility and profile of Nigerian academicians, businessmen, entrepreneurs and professionals residing in Germany, fashioning out stronger network possibilities amongst Nigerian academicians, businessmen, entrepreneurs and professionals residing in Germany , initiate high level contacts between NIDO and people in business, politics and in socio-cultural fields both Nigerians and non Nigerians and lead a strong lobby group, using individual and collective skills of NIDO members and to put in use past experiences to build economic and political support for NIDO Germany with a view to promoting business, trade and investment opportunities. He called on Nigerians in Germany who share the same dream to join hands with him to build a platform where their full potential will be put to use for the national development and to help manage German and Nigerian interests in a secure, respectful and fair manner.
According to Hon. Gbandi, the relationship between NIDO and Nigerian community Germany is paramount to him and he promised to make it as one of his strategic agenda. It is on this light that I call on the new NIDO President to put his word to action by urgently calling a National sumit or congress to deliberate on the outcome and recommendations of the 2010 congress in Hamburg on how to further overcome the problems identified during the congress.
This article was first written by Obiora Nweke in 2010 and updated in 2013 with contributions from AH community Desk. Obiora Nweke is the Associate Publisher African Heritage magazine and heads the politics and Policy Desk (c) African Heritage print Magazine