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Chibuzor Ubochi: Nigerians in Diaspora right to vote is sacrosanct

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UK NIDO Chairman Chibuzor Ubochi

UK NIDO Chairman Chibuzor: Sir Ubochi is a legal practitioner in London. He serves also on the board of several other companies and NGOs. As a legal practitioner with a broad practice in England and Wales as well as in Nigeria, Sir Ubochi has a keen interest and uses his expertise in ensuring that these organisations grow to their full potential. His first degree in Economics embedded in him a holistic viewpoint when advising on business affairs and law. A passionate Nigerian, Sir Ubochi is committed to Nigeria’s national development and establishes and maintains several developmental projects and programs for the economic and socio-cultural advancement of Nigeria. He is currently the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK South and had previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees of NIDO Europe.

Vice-President, Prof. Osinbajo says,  ‘’Nigeria has one of the most resilient, hardworking, intelligent and resourceful people in the diaspora, in every field of human endeavor and that it would be very tragic  if the nation fails to tap this immense potential’’. What are the plan / strategy to reinforce these words to action?

I totally agree with the Vice President, Prof Osinbajo’s assertion about Nigeria Diaspora. His assertion is in line with NIDO World wide’s objectives. If you will recall, during the 2016 Diaspora Day Celebration which took place from 24 & 26 July 2016 in Abuja, the event title was carefully coined as: « Harnessing the potentials of the Diaspora for National Development. » This was deliberately chosen to indicate our need for an active and structured engagement towards homeland development.  If you will further recall, during the Diaspora Day celebration 2017, we carefully chose the theme “Promoting Diaspora Participation and Engagement for National Development.” This was also deliberate and goes to buttress the Vice Presidents assertion about Nigeria Diaspora. I will be happy to share with you the communiqués of this events which I humbly wrote as I was the then Legal Adviser of NIDO Europe and on the legal team of NIDO Worldwide.

Following these systematic progressions, we are happy to now have the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) and your question about our plans and strategies to reinforce these words to action now falls at the doorstep of NIDCOM. I look forward to it being populated and for an all-inclusive global Nigeria Diaspora conference where a solid foundation will be laid.

What expectations do you have from the newly created diaspora commission?

As indicated above, my first expectation is for NIDCOM to be properly populated and constituted. I will keep my ears open and await to hear the call for a Global Nigeria Diaspora Conference. From birth, one is expected to sit, then crawl, then stand and then walk and run. So no matter what has been done in the past, my expectation is for an all-inclusive conference where a well-structures modality will be developed for a well harnessed engagement with our beloved country, Nigeria. I look forward to that conference.

How can the diaspora help in the political evolution of Nigeria? Why do you think voting in the diaspora can make Nigeria develop politically?

Referring you back to Diaspora Day 2017; we engaged with the Independent Electoral Commission INEC. NIDO has been leading the demand for Nigeria Diaspora voting rights. I believe that the right to vote and be voted for is the single most important thing that makes one a Nigerian. Take that away from us and we are not Nigerians. As a lawyer, I am a firm believer in the rule of law. I understand the need for the law to be followed. While all stakeholders appears to be in support of Diaspora voting, we must ensure that some laws are amended for Nigeria Diaspora voting to be legally possible. It is my understanding that some of this laws that need amendments are already before the National Assembly.

To answer your question, therefore, our right to vote as Nigerians is Sacrosanct and no one can take it away from us whether it brings development or not. The issue is then that of where that right can be exercised. We say it using modern technology it can be exercised from the comfort of our homes. Nigerians regardless of whether in Diaspora or at home should be able to vote by post of using modern technology. We can be creative and should be. Making the Nigeria Diaspora positively participate in the electoral processes will give them a sense of belonging, a better stake in project Nigeria and inadvertently make them contribute more as they have that feeling of ownership.

54 African countries, including Nigeria, your home country, have agreed to allow the free flow of goods and services, and also the free movement of Africans in Africa. How does this impact on as a Nigerian in the Diaspora who intends to invest back home?

It was a welcomed news when we heard that Nigeria has finally signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA). We did not understand the reason for the delay but accepted that our government knows better than we do as we are not politicians. I use this medium to encourage NIDO Africa to seek to find ways how the Nigeria Diaspora specifically those in Africa can leverage this agreement.   You are currently interviewing me from Cameroon, I understand Dangote Gruop is in Cameroon and most Central African countries. The world is a global village and Africa must become one community in this global village in order to stand a chance of fighting its corner. Single African countries cannot withstand the negotiating might of the EU, the USA, China etc but with AFCFTA properly constituted and doing what it is meant to do Africa can at last punch at her weight.

Specifically, on your question about Nigeria Diaspora investment back home, it is time for the Federal Government of Nigeria to entice her Diaspora; our homeland has just increased. Nigeria Diaspora can now consider Rwanda, Ghana as “back home”. The Government should welcome us with more incentives. Nigeria Diaspora is now the beautiful bride of all African countries not just Nigeria — laughing. Our remittances may now go to other African countries who provide us with a more enticing offers.   

What suggestions would you make to the government to ease its economic diversity program?

Your question has been diverse but I will try to answer this as well. The Government has so far done well on this. It has been said remittances from Nigeria Diaspora to Nigeria in 2018 was worth more than the earnings from oil and gas. This meant the Government may not rely on oil and gas as the only source of its income. The question is if we know where this remittances went into? How was it used? To which sectors of the economy were they applied to. We go back to the question of what I expect from the NIDCOM; I expect statistics. These remittances can be properly harnessed then we can see which areas of the economy are Nigeria Diaspora interested in. Once this is known, then from the Diaspora perspective, we can properly articulate our suggestion on how to ease economic diversity program from an informed position. I will not want to suggest economic diversity just for the sake achieving diversity. Diversity must be made form an informed position considering the opportunity cost, scale of preference and so on.

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Magazine

Gallery: Diaspora Excellence Award 2023

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At the occasion organized in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Naija Diaspora Magazine, several individuals, companies, governors, traditional rulers, business owners, government agencies and parastatals as well as politicians were honored for their outstanding performances in 2023. The publication celebrated its
10th anniversary with a two-day event that included the Symposium and Annual Diaspora Excellence Award. This platform provided a unique opportunity for collective learning, networking, and gaining insights into government policies that relate to communities. Attendees were empowered to navigate pathways of positive change. The Symposium lecture was titled: ‘Building a Nation’, with several dignitaries as speakers.

CLICK EACH IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

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Inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament Triumphs Amidst Adversity

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On the 6th of August 2023, a monumental event took place at St Michel, Terminus, Douala, marking the commencement of the First Edition of the Anambra State Union Football Tournament. Under the stewardship of Sir Emeka Uzoka, Chairman of the Anambra State Union, this tournament emerged as a testament to unity, sportsmanship, and the indomitable spirit of the Anambra community.

The opening ceremony set the stage for what would become an unforgettable showcase of camaraderie and competitive fervor. A true celebration of tradition and athleticism, the tournament kicked off with a Veteran Match at 2:00 pm. The clash between Aguata Local Government Union and Nnewi Local Government Union resulted in a gripping encounter, with Aguata securing victory with a 2-0 score line.

Distinguished figures graced the event with their presence, adding prestige to the occasion. Among them was Mr. Oliva Ochi, Consul 1 at the Consulate General Douala, representing the esteemed Consul General, H.E. Amb. (Mrs.) Efe A. Clark-Omeru.

The honorable gathering was further enriched by the participation of key personalities, including: Hon. BIC Okwujiaku, President of the Nigerian Community Douala, HRH Eze Jonathan T. Onyenagubor, Eze Gburugburu 1 of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Cameroon, Sir, Lovinus Ezeh, Vice President, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Alex Nwoye, Vice President 2, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Uche Obiekwe, Patron of the Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Innocent Obiorah Odoh, Patron Anambra State Union, Chairmen of Imo and Enugu States Union, Esteemed members of the Anambra State Union.

The event also extended its reach to include esteemed guests from Douala and beyond.
In recognition of the paramount importance of safety and well-being, the organizers ensured the presence of dedicated medical health and security personnel, assuring attendees a secure environment throughout the event.

Despite the inclement weather characterized by heavy rain, the unyielding spirit of the Anambra community remained unshaken. A testament to their passion for football and unity, a remarkable number of attendees braved the elements, converging to witness the unfolding of history on the lush fields of St Michel, Terminus.

The final was held on Sunday 12th of November 2023 @ Bonamousadi Stadium Douala. Oyi Local Government lifted the trophy while Aguta Local Government took the bronze and Idemili Local Government took silver.

The inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament stands as an embodiment of shared values, intercommunity collaboration, and the timeless appeal of sport. This event not only etched a significant mark on the sporting calendar but also served as a reminder of the resilience and unity that define the Anambra community.

As the tournament concluded its first chapter, it left in its wake a legacy of camaraderie, sporting excellence, and the promise of more remarkable editions to come.

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CAMEROON: Miniature Africa

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Cameroon, nestled in the heart of Central Africa, is a country with a captivating blend of rich cultural diversity, stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. Often referred to as « Miniature Africa, » Cameroon offers travelers a unique and multifaceted experience, showcasing the continent’s essence in a single destination.

With more than 250 ethnic groups and languages, Cameroon is a melting pot of diverse cultures, traditions and customs. The capital city, Yaoundé, and the economic hub, Douala, provide excellent starting points to dive into Cameroon’s cultural wealth.

Cameroon’s diverse geography offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes, each with its unique charm.
In the West, the mist-covered peaks of Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa, beckon adventurous hikers to climb and witness awe-inspiring views of the surrounding scenery.
Towards the North, the Sahelian region boasts vast savannas and semi-arid landscapes, offering visitors an opportunity to spot magnificent wildlife, and in the East, the dense rainforests of the Congo Basin teem with a rich variety of flora and fauna, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and exotic bird species.

Tourism Spots on a Budget
Here are a selection of the most distinguished and captivating tourist destinations in Cameroon. These remarkable locales boast accessibility without undue strain on one’s financial resources, making them irresistible choices for tourists.

Mefou National Park:
Mefou National Park houses the Mefou Primate Sanctuary, a rescue center managed by Ape Action Africa. With over 300 rare and endangered primates, it’s a significant conservation project in Africa, providing lifelong care and rehabilitation for animals rescued from illegal trades.

Limbe:
Formerly known as Victoria, Limbe is a port city with a diverse flora and fauna influenced by its colonial past. The Limbe Wildlife Centre/Botanical Centre offers a close-to-nature experience, rescuing and caring for ill-treated and endangered animals.

Mount Cameroon:
Mount Cameroon, also called the « Chariot of the Gods, » is West Africa’s highest mountain and an active volcano. A popular destination for adventurers and hikers, the trek offers stunning views, diverse landscapes and encounters with wildlife like monkeys and birds.

Kribi Beach:
Kribi Beach, in the southwestern region, boasts long white sand beaches and clear waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy the Chutes de la Lobé waterfall, where they can swim under the falls. Local cuisine and seafood delicacies await at various restaurants.

Korup National Park:
Korup National Park, renowned for its bird species, offers pristine tropical wilderness. Visitors can enjoy lodging infrastructure and spot unique primates like the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and Perseus’s red colobus. Located near the ocean, Mundemba serves as a starting point for tours to the park, where guides often speak the local Cameroonian language.

Cameroon stands tall as a remarkable destination for audacious travelers seeking a blend of cultural diversity, awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling adventures. From the depths of the rainforests to the heights of its mountains, and from the bustling cities to the serene beaches, the land beckons with open arms, ready to share its enchanting beauty and warm hospitality with all who venture to explore its wonders. As tourism in Cameroon continues to grow sustainably, the country’s potential as a captivating and memorable destination will undoubtedly flourish.

 

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