Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) on Wednesday pledged to work with all recognized Diaspora groups for unity and national development. The commission also said it would work with several existing socio-cultural and professional diaspora groups. Mr. Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head, Media and Protocol, of NIDCOM, said this in a statement in Abuja.
Balogun said the commission’s attention was drawn to an obviously confusing and illogical statement being circulated by the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Europe, Mr Keneth Gbandi, on the relationship between NIDCOM and NIDO. He said NIDO-Europe’s statement could be described as selfish and self-seeking.
He alleged that it was all in the attempt of a few, who wanted to lord over the majority. He recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, came up with the idea of NIDO being an umbrella body of all diaspora organisations, but unfortunately for 20 years, the vision had not materialized.
He said that NIDO had not succeeded in bringing registered and recognized diaspora groups under one roof. “Rather, it has been controlled in some countries, by a few who are determined to turn it to a personal belonging,” he said. He added that in the Act establishing NIDCOM, the commission was to coordinate the activities of all diaspora groups and organisations.
“So, it is imperative to stress that NIDCOM will not only relate to NIDO but also, all recognized diaspora organisations. “This, the commission has been able to do effectively by coordinating and harnessing the potentials of the diaspora groups and individuals for national development,” he said. Balogun also pointed out that NIDCOM had been able to engage as many diaspora groups as possible in all parts of the world through its various activities and interventions.
“But the leadership of NIDO-Europe wants to go it all alone. According to Gbandi, who has been in NIDO leadership in the last 20 years, it is either his way or no way. “We stress again that Gbandi’s argument that whenever NIDCOM board is constituted by Mr. President, it should be made up of only members of NIDO will remain a dream by Gbandi.
“For the purpose of clarity and emphasis, NIDCOM is for all Nigerians in the diaspora, irrespective of groups and affiliations, and not for one organization or group in the diaspora. “It is, therefore, sad that while other diaspora groups and organisations are rallying support to combat COVID-19 pandemic, what concerns a few leaders of NIDO-Europe under Mr. Gbandi is total control.
“It is expedient to mention here that the task ahead is enormous as NIDCOM will ensure that all diaspora groups work together with unity of purpose,” he stated. He also said that NIDCOM was poised to work with all Nigerians abroad. He said: “Now was the time to unify and work with all diaspora groups and organisations, irrespective of ethnic, religious, political, cultural and professional affiliations”.
“This is what NIDCOM is poised to do and will not allow a few people dominate majority as we will work with all stakeholders, including National Assembly relevant committees, focal persons on Diaspora from all states in Nigeria, among other international bodies. “NIDCOM under the leadership of Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa will continue to be guided by the act of parliament, which set it up as well as see to the overall welfare of all Nigerians abroad in line with its citizen diplomacy philosophy.
“Be rest assured of NIDCOM’s fairness, the level playing field for all as the ultimate aim is to contribute positively to national development,” he added.