On Thursday, February 1st, 2024, at 6:00 pm Abuja time, a landmark Zoom meeting unfolded as the current and past Continental Chairs of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) and key stakeholders engaged in a productive session with Hon. Sir Tochukwu Chinedu Okere, the new Chair of the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs. The meeting aimed to address the challenges facing Nigerians living abroad and explore the crucial role of the House Committee in addressing these issues. In attendance were past and present NIDO continental leaders, Nigerian Ambassadors, and critical Diaspora Stakeholders across the 5 continents of the globe, namely Africa, North and South Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.
The virtual gathering of who is who in the Diaspora leadership, meticulously moderated by Hon. (Dr) Kenneth Gbandi, who served as the European Continental Chair and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for NIDOE from 2016 to 2020 and rotational Chairman NIDO Worldwide, provided a platform for an insightful exchange of ideas and perspectives.
The House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, led by Hon. Sir Tochukwu Chinedu Okere, has been actively working towards understanding and resolving the challenges faced by Nigerians in the diaspora. The committee recognizes the pivotal role that the diaspora community plays in the nation’s development and seeks to create an enabling environment for their continued contribution through a robust legislative oversight and cooperation amongst Diaspora critical stake holders.
One of the primaries focuses of the meeting was to discuss the ongoing challenges faced by Nigerians living abroad, ranging from the constitution of NIDCOM Board, Diaspora Voting Rights, immigration, and consular issues to socio-economic and security concerns. The participants shared personal experiences and insights, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts between the diaspora and the Nigerian government to find lasting solutions to some of the identified problems.
Hon. Sir Tochukwu Chinedu Okere highlighted the commitment of the Speaker of the House and the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs to addressing these challenges effectively via cooperation and legislative oversight. He outlined various initiatives and policies under consideration to improve the diaspora experience, emphasizing the importance of continuous engagement with the community to tailor solutions that meet their needs. He called for unity among Diaspora leadership.
The past and current NIDO Continental Chairs and Diaspora Veterans and distinguished diplomats, including, H.E. Amb. Joseph Ayalogu; Former Permanent, Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations in Geneva/ Ambassador to Switzerland and H.E. Amb. Abdul Bin Rimdap; Former Nigerian Ambassador to Austria and Germany joined to brought forth recommendations based on their extensive experience and understanding of the diaspora landscape. Their insights and suggestions enriched the discussion and provided a comprehensive perspective on the issues at hand.
As the meeting concluded, there was a sense of optimism among the participants regarding the potential for positive change. The dialogue reaffirmed the importance of a strong partnership between the diaspora and the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs in helping to create policies that not only address current challenges but also pave the way for a more inclusive and supportive environment for Nigerians living abroad.
In the spirit of collaboration and shared responsibility, the interactive Zoom meeting served as a testament to the dedication of both the diaspora community and the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs in working together for the betterment of Nigerians living beyond the nation’s borders.
Some of the notable Diaspora leaders and Diaspora stakeholders in attendance include: H.E. Amb. Joseph Ayalogu (Former Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations in Geneva/ Ambassador to Switzerland); H.E. Amb. Abdul Bin Rimdap (Former Nigerian Ambassador to Austria and Germany); Hon. (Dr) Kenneth Gbandi (Former NIDO European Continental Chairman and 2023 Senatorial candidate); Hon. (Dr.) Collins Nweke (Opinion Maker-The Brussels Times, Green Party Municipal Legislator, Belgium and former Chairman and Nigerians In Diaspora Organization continental Europe); Dr John George (Founder and Chairman Rotex Group of companies and former Board Chairman NIDO Europe);
Others are Dr. Obinna Kingsman (Founder of Diaspora Hospital Nigeria and former Chairman, of NIDO Africa); H.E. Dr Babatunde Lee (Former Chairman, of NIDO Africa); Engr. Obed Monago (Former Chairman, NIDO Americas); Engr. Afolabi Aderemi Paul (NIDO Americas); Vire Komolafe Former Sec. Gen. NIDO Europe & Fr. Vice Chairman NIDO Ireland); Gary Linus Unamadu (Chairman, NIDO Oceania); Victor Ubani (Chairman NIDO Americas); Amb. Titus A. Alagba (Chairman NIDO Africa/Coordinating Chair NIDO Worldwide); Dr. Hussaini Umar (University of Hungary and former Chair Hungary); Issa Abdullahi (Community Organizer, former Chair NIDOE Swiss, and former Vice Chairman NIDO Europe).
Others are Adetunji Adeleke Former Chair NIDO Indianapolis and current BOT NIDO Americas); Sir Chibuzo Ubochi KSC (Director at Victory Law Solicitors London and former UK NIDO Chairman and Former NIDO Europe Legal Adviser); Jumoke Akin-Taylor (Vice President TriAfrica Empowerment Foundation and former Chair Mobilization NIDO America); Charles Orbih (Coordinating Member works, Collaborative Council of Nigerians in the Diaspora (CCND); H.E. Dr. Alistair Soyode (former Chairman NIDO Europe and founder/ Director BEN TV UK / Presidential Candidate 2019 (YES) Political Part), and the Team from House Committee National Assembly