The Retired Ambassador Peter Anegbeh’s Inaugural Diplomatic Coup d’état Speech: A Rejoinder (Part I)
Despite the fact that the diplomatic coup d’état staged by the retired Nigeria High Commissioner to Malaysia, Mr. Peter Anegbeh to oust the out-going leadership of NIDO-MY and usurp its leadership was considered foiled, Mr. Anegbeh and his cohorts, re-grouped and went ahead to conduct an unauthorized Annual General Meeting of NIDO-MY. With this, on 20 November 2010, Mr. Anegbeh used the premises of the Nigerian government to launch his faction of NIDO-MY.
This illegitimate jamboree which held on 20 November 2010 at the premises of the Nigeria High Commission, Malaysia, was chaired and coordinated by the retired High Commissioner and arrowhead of the coup d’état, Mr. Anegbeh. On this unconstitutional occasion, a speech entitled, “Speech by the High Commissioner, Peter J.E Anegbeh to Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Malaysia(NIDO-MY) on Saturday 20th November, 2010” was read by Mr. Anegbeh. This rejoinder sets out to offer factual analysis of the diplomatic coup d’état speech in order to expose the undercurrent motives of the Anegbeh’s camp as well as tissues of lies being circulated by the retired High Commissioner to inflame, subvert, factionalize, ethicize, commercialize, hijack and hand over the leadership of NIDO-MY to the highest bidder.
There is the need to recount that in the first official secretariat release of NIDO-MY on this diplomatic coup d’état, it was stated that the officials of the Nigeria High Commission denied any involvement in the mischievous text message that was used in conveying the illegitimate congregation chaired and coordinated by Mr. Anegbeh and members of the Commission staff.
Specifically, in a telephone conversation with Mrs. Dupe Quist Adebiyi (Minister (Head of Chancery, Economic and Trade Matters) and Ms. Francisca O. A. Marinho Minister (Economic, Education and Students’ Welfare), these officials said that the High Commission was neither aware nor issued any notice for such illicit meeting. Evidences marshaled to ascertain the attachment of Mr. Anegbeh in particular, and the High Commission as a whole was enthusiastically challenged and rubbished by these two senior staff. However, the opening paragraph of the inaugural diplomatic coup d’état speech read by Mr. Anegbeh to an illegitimate and scanty assemblage of hand-picked people indicts and establishes Anegbeh and High Commission as a whole, as the sponsors of the ill-intentioned text message.
In the opening paragraph of this diplomatic coup d’état speech, Mr. Anegbeh writes, “My brother and sister, it gives me great pleasure to be with you this afternoon and I want to sincerely thank you for heeding the clarion call and honoring my invitation (emphasis, writer’s own) for us to come together once again after the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence…” Although this quoted extract is itself self-revealing, the bolded part, (honoring my invitation) clearly confirms NIDO-MY’s leadership claim that Mr. Anegbeh was the one who sponsored and issued the malicious text message used in conveying the illegitimate assembly. A number of those who made the scanty and unlawful gathering confided in the outgoing Secretary General of NIDO-MY, Mr. Adebiyi Jelili A., that they were personally called by Mr. Anegbeh. It was even said that they were told that the meeting has to do with directives issued by the Presidency, that is, Abuja, to effect changes in the activities, compositional line-up and administrative set up of NIDO-MY. However, written evidence of such directive from Abuja was neither produced to substantiate Mr. Anegbeh’s claim nor quoted in his four-paged diplomatic coup d’état speech. Abuja must have been mentioned in order to grant the illegitimate gathering a measure of legality. From the foregoing analysis, it is evident that, as opposed to Mrs. Dupe Quist Adebiyi, Ms. Francisca O. A. Marinho, and the High Commission’s claim, it was Mr. Anegbeh, the retired diplomat and the Commission that issued the mischievous “clarion-calling” text message used in staging diplomatic coup d’état against the democratically elected outgoing leadership of NIDO-MY in particular and the Organization, NIDO-MY, as a whole.
To further delude the whole public, Mr. Anegbeh went ahead in the second paragraph of his reprehensible speech to create an impression that he has the blessing of both the pioneering (2004-2008) and outgoing leadership (2008-2010) of the NIDO-MY to stage the diplomatic coup d’état aimed at hijacking and handing over NIDO-MY’s leadership to the highest bidders. To this extent, the arrowhead of this diplomatic coup d’état, Mr. Anegbeh writes, “let me once again seize this opportunity to thank the pioneer leadership of NIDO-MY as well as the outgoing team for the arduous task for putting NIDO-MY on track and on proper footing as envisioned by the Federal Government of Nigeria.” There is no doubting the fact that this statement was dubiously structured to serve the following intents. First, to create an erroneous impression and hoodwink the gathering as well as the general public that both the pioneering and outgoing leadership were seated in the illegitimate gathering where this mischievous speech was read. Second, it was also meant to sell an impish dummy and perhaps impression that on the one hand, all is well between NIDO-MY and the High Commission. On the other, it is intended to delude the generality of people that both NIDO-MY pioneering and outgoing leadership are working hand-in-hand to achieve the intended targets of the unlawful gathering where he delivered this liable speech.
Third, this statement also serves the purpose of misleading people as to think that Mr. Anegbeh’s mission was positive and that he is not on collision course with the leadership of the Organization whose insistence on following laid-down procedures was the reason why a diplomatic coup d’état was staged against them and the Organization as a whole. Fourth, this statement projects and positions comfortably in a “legitimate” position, Mr. Anegbeh’s “constitutional rights” to make assertive, and categorical statements on NIDO-MY. Fifth, it presents Mr. Anegbeh and the Commission as a constitutionally empowered individual and body to which NIDO-MY is accountable to. The last part of the second paragraph of this iniquitous speech which reads, “the task ahead of us (emphasis is author’s own) is great and all hands are needed on deck to fashion out a workable and acceptable constitution for NIDO-MY (emphasis is author’s own) as it is universally (emphasis is author’s own) done,” bears it all.
Again, when the word “us” in the above quoted extract of Mr. Anegbeh phrase is carefully read against the phrases “to fashion out a workable and acceptable constitution for NIDO-MY,” and “as it is done universally” the following are again obvious.
One, “us,” as used in the sentence under consideration partly presents Mr. Anegbeh and the High Commission as members of NIDO-MY, a Non-Governmental Organization. Second, based on this first premise, that is Mr. Anegbeh’s and the High Commission’s membership of NIDO-MY, then, both parties have the right to, on the one hand, determine what is a NIDO-MY Constitution, and fashion out not just a workable constitution but the one that is also acceptable. On the other, it shows that Mr. Anegbeh and the High Commission’s membership of NIDO-MY empower them to reject what is considered not acceptable as a NIDO-MY constitution. Also, it creates the wrong impression that these claims: (1) Mr. Anegbeh’s membership of NIDO-MY (2) High Commission’s membership of NIDO-MY (3) High Commissioner’s and High Commission’s constitutionally-backed rights of; determining what is a NIDO constitution; right of reviewing of NIDO constitution; right of suspending the same constitution; right of affirming the same constitution; right of writing a NIDO constitution, are practices that are constitutionally recognized and conventional legitimate practices known to and accepted by all chapters of NIDO in different parts of the world.
A careful look at the constitutions of the different chapters of NIDO in America, Europe, Asia, and Africa will show that this is a libelous claim. See the attached as a proof. There is no clause, either direct or indirect, where such unfounded claim can be grounded a legitimate basis. In all of these constitutions, it is stated unambiguously that NIDO is a Non-Governmental Organization and a non-profit making body. Accordingly it is stated that:
“The name of the Company, which is a Non-Governmental Organisation (hereinafter called “the Organisation”), is the “Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE)”- NIDO Europe Constitution
“The Organisation shall exist as a NON-PROFIT, Non-Governmental, Charitable, apolitical, and confessional independent Organisation with legal rights and obligation distinct from that of its members under Swiss Laws.”- NIDO Switzerland Constitution
“For the purpose of forming a Not-for-Profit corporation pursuant to the Laws of the District of Columbia, members of the NIDO Americas, Inc., (formerly known as NIGERIANS IN DIASPORA ORGANIZATION(NIDO AMERICAS),INC.), (hereinafter called the “Organization” or “NIDO” enact the following bylaws to govern the activities of the organization.” – NIDO American Constitution
WE, THE NIGERIANS resident in Malaysia: Having firmly and solemnly resolved: TO FORM a united, non-partisan, non-governmental and non religious Organization dedicated to the welfare of her members, promotion of the good image of Nigeria and promotion of developmental co-operation between Nigeria and Malaysia and the rest of the world- NIDOMY Constitution
The sections under the eligibility for membership of different chapters of NIDO also show that Nigerians in Diaspora who are academicians, professionals, businessmen with proven and legitimate business records are entitled to be admitted as members. Even, such membership rights as shown in the various constitutional provisos below, are not automatic because it requires fulfilling certain outlined constitutional membership requirement and registration procedures. So, an eligible member who has not gone through constitutionally outlined membership procedure is not a member of NIDO. Such member is at best potential member. There is nowhere in this regulating documents that the High Commissioners and the Nigeria High Commissions are provided for as members of this organization Evidences to support this claim can be seen in the Section 2:01 of the attached NIDO-America constitution, Section 2, page 11 of the attached NIDO-Europe constitution, Article 6 of the attached NIDO-Swiss constitution, Article 3 of the attached UAE constitution and Section 4.0 of NIDO-MY constitution.
Again, Anegbeh is noticed to have in third paragraph of his diplomatic coup d’état speech writes that, “NIDO as conceptualized by the government is to encompass Professionals, Business people and Academicians…” Although he properly outlines the three membership category of NIDO, the misleading part of this statement is the aspect which reads, “NIDO as conceptualized by the government.” The phrase, “NIDO as conceptualized by the government” was deliberately couched by Mr. Anegeh to sell the dummy that NIDO is purely a governmental thing and for this reason, the government has right to dictate and direct the affairs of the organization, the right to interfere in the politics of the Organization, the right to hire and fire the leadership of the organization, the right to review, suspend and write the Constitution of the Organization, and etcetera.
At this juncture, it is essential to produce verbatim, an historical document/e-mail which clarifies the role of Government in the formation of NIDO as a Non-Governmental Organization and which also show that Mr. Anegbeh’s claim and that of the Nigeria High Commission in Malaysia is baseless, concocted to serve certain ulterior agenda and far from the established reality that is recognized worldwide by NIDO chapters. Below is an archived historical e-mail exchange between the retired Ambassador Joe Keshi, erstwhile Nigeria Consul General to US and the generality of Nigerian diasporic community. This e-mail was issued when it was raised, the fears that in the future, some dictatorial Government officials might be engaged in the attempt to hijack the leadership of NIDO or foist their will on this Non-Governmental diasporic body. The e-mail was issued on February 16, 2001, in Keshi’s dual capacity as Nigeria Consul General to the US and as Government’s spokesperson reads:
To: Multiple Recipients
From: Joe Keshi, Consul General
February 16, 2001
1. This is to acknowledge with thanks receipt of your e-mail to the Consulate�s (Atlanta) Press Release on The Formation Of The Nigerians In the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO-AMERICA).
As previously communicated, the Washington meeting will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2001 at the “M” office of the Embassy of Nigeria, 2201 �M� Street. N. W. Washington D.C. 20037, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Registration will be from 9 a.m. For the avoidance of doubt, the one-day meeting will consider among others, the objectives of NIDO-America, its organisation, structure and how to mobilize Nigerians in the Diaspora to effectively participate in the organization.
2. While we welcome the overwhelming positive responses to the formation of NIDO-America, we also do recognise the reservations, apprehensions and concerns expressed in some quarters. It is imperative to address some of the issues raised so that the noble intentions of the present administration could be better understood and appreciated. Equally, there is the need at this stage, to remove any lingering doubts as to government�s intentions and involvement in the formation of NIDO- America.
3. Most of those who have expressed some concern at government�s involvement have based their fears on the past and on their personal experiences with past military regimes in Nigeria. Their fears and personal experiences are so deep and in some cases so disturbing, that one cannot but express appreciation at the concerns expressed.
Nevertheless, while the past exists as a guide to the future, we cannot, however, remain prisoners of the past. It should be recognized that the circumstances that compelled some past military administrations to attempt to set up Nigerian organizations in America and elsewhere does not exist any more. If the Abacha administration for example, felt the need to mobilise Nigerians abroad, it was because of the need of that Administration to counteract the unfavourable image of the regime especially in a place like America.
4. The Obansanjo administration has no such pressure as America today maintains not only a cordial relationship with the administration, but has since the inception of the regime been very supportive of the democratic process in Nigeria. This has led to high level exchange of visits, culminating in the August 2000 visit of the former US President Bill Clinton to Nigeria. In addition, compared to the past where the emphasis was on generating support for the regime in Nigeria, the focus of the Obasanjo administration is on mobilizing Nigerians in the Diaspora to contribute their own quota to national development.
As a result, NIDO-America is partly in response to government�s recognition of the reservoir of knowledge and expertise of Nigerians in the Diaspora and the contributions they could make to national development and partly in response to the clamour of Nigerians in the Diaspora for participation in the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
5. At the Presidential Dialogue in Atlanta, in response to some of the questions raised, the President was very emphatic in stating that while he could not guarantee the provision of jobs to all Nigerians in the Diaspora wishing to return home to Nigeria, he would, however, want to work with them to fashion out how best they could be involved in national development.
In encouraging Nigerians therefore to establish NIDO-America, and in facilitating the process, government is creating a platform or a vehicle through which Nigerians abroad, especially Nigeria�s best and brightest minds, could be involved one way or the other with the development of Nigeria.
6. Thus, while it might be �absurd� (to some) for government to participate in the formation of an NGO, it is imperative to reassure all and sundry that government�s involvement will be limited to facilitating the process of establishing NIDO-America and in encouraging Nigerians in the Diaspora to participate in the affairs of the NGO. Once the structure, the management and mechanism for mobilizing Nigerians are agreed upon, in Washington, the future of NIDO- America will depend entirely on Nigerians in the Diaspora.
7. Consequently, those who are apprehensive of government�s intention and participation should, therefore, have the highest interest in ensuring the success of NIDO- America. The way forward is for Nigerians in the Diaspora to organise their strength into a compelling force and ensure the take-off of NIDO on a solid foundation from its inception. It would, therefore, become the responsibility of the Nigerians in the Diaspora to manage NIDO as an efficient and effective self-sustaining NGO such that it could not be manipulated even by future administrations in Nigeria.
8. On the question of finances or funding for NIDO- America, there is the need for some objectivity, considering the desire of Government to ensure a smooth take off of NIDO-America.
To be continued
The author Mr. Adebiyi Jelili Abudugana, the outgoing NIDO-MY Secretary General can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org