Can a non-resident, allegedly charged for social welfare fraud be eligible to contest NIDOE election?
There seems to be no easy way out for the crisis rocking the Nigerians In Diaspora Organization, Republic of Ireland chapter as their election billed for Saturday 14th December, 2019 ended in chaos.
The AGM which hitherto started peacefully, later degenerated to arguments as some members of the
organization accused the outgoing Executives of highhandedness and breach of the constitution.
The outgoing Chairman, however, expressed that his intention was geared at leaving the association in
the hands of capable hands irrespective of the incoherence in the constitutional provision. Dotun
Adegbesan stated that, constitution was made for man and as such could be amended to suit man’s
It is noteworthy however, that irrespective of intent of the current Chair and by extension those of his
executive members; it is fundamentally wrong to boycott the provisions of the legal instrument of an
organisation which empowers and binds the day to day running of the organisation on the basis of
personal opinion. Especially when you have benefited from same provisions; having completed a 2 term
tenure in which these “perceived wrong” provisions should have been amended. Those were the words
of the opposing members.
In a letter signed by the supposed opposition to the outgoing Executives which includes: Peter Ebelegbe
(Vying for the position of PRO), Zephrynus Okechi Ikeh (Vying for the Chairmanship position), Mrs. Ursula
Nwosu (former Secretary and wife of the founder of NIDOE) among others, an alleged fraudulent
misconduct and violation of the company’s constitution was reported to the Garda, CRO, Diaspora
Commission and the Directorate of Corporate Enforcement where investigation is ongoing with respect
to breach of rights of members under company’s act as well as other breach of the constitution which
led to a five count allegations.
In same vein, we do have to highlight that issue as to constitutionality also arose during the course of
making resolutions during the AGM meeting. At this point, the issue bothers around the membership
status of some Nigerians who were attending the meeting for the first time. These set of people who
were referred to as “observers” made claims that they are entitled to cast vote at resolution and
election owing to the fact that they have paid their annual subscription to NIDOE’s bank account. Hence,
they rely on Article 24 of the constitution which stipulates that one becomes a member when the
subscription is “immediately payable”. However, Article 12.2 of same constitution provides for
registration of membership in terms of filling an application as well as the payment of the subscription
fee as the prerequisite for membership.
In another revelation, our TellAfrica correspondent on Diaspora matters gathered that 5 out of the 14
contestants vying for various positions were said to be ineligible and not qualified to contest in the
election by virtue of NIDOE’s constitution. Only persons who have been physically and financially
committed to the NIDO cause for a period of two years are eligible to hold any elective position.
However, the eligibility of contestant is expected to be confirmed by the members of the Electoral
committee led by Mr. Timothy Adejumo.
According to our sources; Esther Onolemenmen (aspiring Chairman), Mallam Ali Usman (aspiring Vice
chairman), Sekinat Debola Abdul Ibiyeye (aspiring PRO) and Olalekan Oludunmade (aspiring IT officer)
made their intentions known to become a member of NIDOE in the month of July/ August / November
2018 ( Global Development Forum London and Vienna AGM 2018 events) respectively) while they may
not have completely fulfilled the 2 Years constitutional requirements, there is no gainsaying in the fact
that they tremendously supported NIDOE’s activities in the past year. We however gathered, that they
do not meet the specific local attendance requirements at meetings but are financially committed.
While Pamela Toyin (aspiring Social Welfare Officer) may have been a member by attendance for the
years required by the constitution, however, she was not a paid member of the association in the past
years, invariably, she may have made the requisite payment when she decided to contest. It was also
alleged that, Toyin Pamela has a visiting status in Ireland and at some point have been charged to have
committed a social welfare fraud against the Republic of Ireland. Therefore, a non-resident cum social
welfare offender may not be deemed fit for purpose.
Considering the aforementioned allegations, the onus therefore, is on the Electoral Committee led by
Timothy Adejumo to certify members in the best interest of the organisation and report findings in good
time before the election date.
The composition of the electoral committee was another challenge raised by some members who
believed that it does not represent the federal character of Nigeria. The committee was made up of 4
Yorubas (male) and 1 (female) from Delta State who resigned from the duties. Ema resigned based on
the allegations that the committee was fraudulent in the process of carrying out their duties.
In lieu of the AGM and election, the outgoing Chair having presented his final report declared the
Other matters arising after the aborted meeting includes the two known factions lobbying members
support in view of the way forward. While the outgoing Executives are rooting to now set up a
Constitutional review committee who shall deal with the anomalies and controversies in the
constitution, the other faction disagree with the motive on the grounds that their term of office was
deemed over on the 14th of December and as such do not have moral and constitutional justification to
call for any administrative changes henceforth. They also provided an alternative resolution to the stalemate, which is the call for intervention of Her Excellency, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria in Ireland. A letter requesting a congress of all members led by the authentic company
Directors in person of Mr. Waheed Mudah, a Solicitor of repute and Mr. Anthony Ogochukwu and the intervention
of H.E have been sorted in order to wade the imbroglio.
While addressing resolving issues that threatens the peaceful coexistence of NIDOE, the CEO of
TellAfrica who is also a member of the association, Gbemisola Bisi-Taiwo noted as follows:
“Mr. Adegbesan deserves to be given a triumphal exit considering some of his laudable feat as the NIDOE
Chair in the past 4 years. Although, he may have his unique personality which may not be acceptable to
all just like everyone, cos we are not perfect.” She also reckoned that there is disparity with respect to
interpretations of the constitution and as such believes that it will be beneficial for members to have an
equilibrium point devoid of selfish interests as they resolve the differences.
Also in a bid to resolve the differences, Waheed Mudah, one of the company’s Director in chastising the
outgoing Acting Secretary (also aspiring Secretary) questioned the validity of the method of thumbs up
and down arguably used on a social media platform to effect the magnitude of change required by the constitution.
“Are you and others just going to amend an organization’s constitution just to accommodate your
current desires? Where is that done? What should happen the next time another executive committee
have the urge to ram their views on other members? Should they also emulate the precedence and
organise a constitutional amendment committee to amend the constitution within two months? Please be
very careful and go back to the same constitution for education on its amendment” the learned fellow
At the end of it all, we have some mind blowing questions that need be resolved in order to have a
1. Should the outgoing executives be allowed to constitute a constitution review committee now that their term is over?
2. Should members resort to intervention of the Ambassador/ Congress to have all issues
3. Should the electoral committee be allowed to discharge their inconclusive duties?
4. Whose duty is it to certify that all contestants are eligible to be our representative?
5. Should we allow the 2 years rule to stop members in active capacity and willing to serve NIDOE?
6. Should a non-resident or alleged social welfare offender be allowed to contest in NIDOE
7. Is the non use of Federal Character for the selection of officers acceptable considering the
diverse ethnicity of Nigeria?
The ball is in our court as Nigerians in Diaspora here in Ireland to decide the way forward for us and our generations to come. This is a moment where you cannot afford to be anything but OBJECTIVE.
We look forward to your comments as we find a lasting solution for NIDOE.