NIDOE Memebrs @ Austria AGM

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a distinguished Nigerian statesman is still towering over Global events like a colossus even at 87. His experience and visionary leadership legacy extend far beyond national borders. For Friends of OBJ, as he is fondly called in the Diaspora, his pivotal role in the establishment of Nigerians in Diaspora organizations reflects a commitment to harnessing the potential of Nigerian professionals residing abroad for the holistic development of the nation.

In September 2000, Chief Obasanjo’s GCFR meetings in Washington and London marked the inception of a robust organization comprising Nigerian academicians and professionals. The core objectives, ranging from homeland development to fostering a positive international image, encompassed promoting business, trade, and investment opportunities, and creating a professional resource pool for managing German and Nigerian interests.

Undoubtedly, Chief Obasanjo, with a Ph.D. and GCFR to his name, can be aptly described as the father of Nigerians in Diaspora. His dreams materialized through the formation of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora during the 6th National Assembly under the leadership of Honourable Speaker Dimeji Bankole in 2009.

The pinnacle of these efforts was the birth of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), showcasing the profound impact the Diaspora continued to make in Nigeria. The unexplored potentials of this connection came to the forefront during the 6th and 7th National Assemblies. Hon. Onyeamaechi Joan, a first-timer at the National Assembly, presented the legendary Nigerian Diaspora Bill, outlining the potential of the Diaspora and taking the first Reading on the floor on 20/01/2016.

The 8th National Assembly, led by Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Honorable Dogara Yakubu, upheld the promise to pass the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Bill on March 30, 2017. This achievement was the result of tremendous groundwork by Senator Rose Oko and Honourable Rita Orji, chairs of the Senate Committee for Diaspora and Civil Societies, and the House Committee for Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, respectively. The gracious assent by His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, then Acting President, marked a significant milestone.

The Honourable House Committee Chairman, Sir Tochukwu Okere of the 10th National Assembly, has generated great renewed optimism with his quick consultation round with Diaspora Stakeholders with a deep desire to understand the Diaspora landscape, the issues, the challenges, and the opportunities and prospects.

I will not only have the privilege to moderate the Diaspora slots at Baba´s Birthday reception but will also join millions of Nigerians both at home and Diaspora to celebrate Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at 87 to acknowledge his legendary and visionary leadership that brought the Diaspora into the heart of Nigeria’s development nexus. His Birthday is again a call to action for all admirers of our distinguished elder statesman to ensure that his vision for the Nigeria Project remains steadfast, including the full constitution of the NIDCOM Board by the law in keeping with his dream of a robust and effective Diaspora engagement with the homeland.

All the efforts to celebrate Baba via zoom would not have come to fruition without the relentless efforts of Mr Stephen Adeoye, Initiator & founder DFOBJ, Mrs Jumoke Lawoyin and of cause my indomitable National leaders and National Chairman of ADC, Chief Dr Ralf Nwosu. Thank you, my chairman. We all join hands and voices to say Thank you, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Baba, of Africa. May you continue to enjoy many more years of good health and celebration.  

Hon. Kenneth Chibuogwu Gbandi was the longest serving Diaspora leader, the National Deputy Chairman (Diaspora Engagement) of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), President Obasanjo Stellar Performance Award 2023 and 2023 Senate candidate for Delta North. Founder Diaspora Friends of OBJ.


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