I write specifically to fellow NIDO-A members. I am writing to all of you regarding the need to review the way forward for this organization. These few weeks has brought another embarrassment to our noble organizations. The grounds on which I wish I write this appeal are that the current NIDO-A needs your help to move this organization forward.
First, this Board was elected on June 2009. Officers were elected based on the current bye-laws of the organization. Process were being put in place to reorganize NIDO-A. Committees were created and Board members were assigned to head each Committee. Each Committee Chair was mandated to present to the leadership their six months agenda. For four months only two Committee Chair presented their agenda, the rest did not.
On October 2009, a few members of the Board met in Boston and made a drastic change in Board leadership. The Chairman, Mr. Soyombo resigned. Based on our bye-laws, the Vice-Chairman should preside until a new Chair is elected. Instead of following our bye-laws, few Board members dissolved the Board leadership and elected new officials. The Vice-Chair, Dr. Ahanotu and the Secretary challenged this position taken by other Board members. Efforts were made by Chapter Coordinators to resolve this leadership problem. The Chapter Coordinators did their best and made their recommendations that the Board should go back to status quo, and follow the laid down policies of NIDO-A. The Board rejected their advice. The issue was then referred back to Committee of Elders that comprised Dr. Aluko, Dr. Kassim. Mr. Adujie and Dr. Onyekwere. These gentlemen did their best and recommended that the Board should go back to status quo: reconstitute a full Board, and call for an election. These are foundation members whom I respect dearly. Their recommendation offered the best option to right the wrong of the Board. Yet, the Board rejects their recommendation. After due consultation with well-meaning Nigerians, while I did not relinquish my position as the Chair of NIDO-A, I chose to allow the Board to deliberate to foster peace in the organization. The next move should have been to seek a legal redress which would be lengthy and probably put our nation in a bad image in the Diaspora. This I did not do.
Mrs. Noyo Edem (Board Member Representing New Jersey) continues to challenge the Board from the day Board Members made the decision to remove her as the Board Secretary. She became very vocal against the Board decision to make such a change in Boston since it was not on the agenda of the day. In my opinion, Mrs. Edem is asking the Board to respect the bye-laws and do the right thing. In her struggle to have the Board right the wrong, the Board set up an impeachment against her. I mediated, brought Mrs. Edem and few others from the Board together to discuss the matter. The mediation took place outside the Board’s meeting and present at the meeting were Mrs. Edem, Mr. Dada, Mr. Victor and Dr. Chima Ahanotu. Mrs. Edem explained her grievance and stated she did not resign from the Board as Secretary. This meeting ended on this note and I reported back to the Board. To mu greatest surprise I received an e-mail calling for the impeachment hearing of Mrs. Edem from one of the Board members. I challenged the idea of having such hearing and asked for the allegations against Mrs. Edem. My question was also directed to Mr. Chris Anwah, legal advisor. My inquiry was ignored. Some Board members went ahead, had a meeting, which Mrs. Edem did not attend, and impeached her. Mrs. Edem had already sent out emails stressing the illegality of this hearing and emphasized that the Board did not have the jurisdiction to have an impeachment hearing against any member. Mrs. Edem referred the Board to the Recommendations from the Coordinators and the Advisory Committee. In addition, she forwarded these documents to Mr. Chris Anwah, Legal Adviser. In view of the fore-going, the impeachment hearing was uncalled for and is illegal under the NIDOA Bye laws.
Fellows, there has been other important issues in the Board which is taking too long to resolve: issues of financial accountability, the legal status of NIDO-A, the NIDO-A office management, the role of the government with NIDO-A, membership identification and numerical strength, just to mention a few. By every indication, we need to strengthen these matters, however, the leadership struggle has smeared the urgent need to reconstruct and reorganize this organization. Folks, what do we do?
The wait for a change in NIDO-A can no longer be tolerated. How long are we to going to sit and let an opportunity to build a cohesive front that could be a vehicle to unite Nigeria Diaspora goes to drain? How long can the Diaspora elites sit and be a laughing mushroom from folks in Nigeria? Time is now for a change in NIDO-A.
A way forward would be for the Board to understand that the Diasporas are not “agboros”. They are well-informed and require true and dynamic leadership. The continuous practice of ignoring prudent advice and illegality has been the order of the day in NIDO-A Board and must stop. An opportunity to give room to due process and transparency must be encouraged, therefore a call for systematic leadership is an urgent call for NIDO-A at this moment. A leadership style that would create a flow chart and give all of us the opportunity to link every Nigeria Diaspora, ethnic and professional organizations to NIDO-A; but first, we must keep our house in order. Keeping our house in order means advocating for a Committee that public opinion has been alluding to. The basic function of this Committee would be to re-constitute the bye-law draft Committee, ensure that we have a good working bye-laws that would address all the gaps in the daily activities of NIDO-A. I recommend that all Chapters be ready to work toward this reconstruction and restructuring of NIDO-A.
Chimaroke Ahanotu, Ph.D.
(Chair, Membership & Mobilization Committee- NIDO-A)