U.S.-based group debunks endorsing presidential candidate
A GROUP of Nigerians based in the United States — Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in America (NIDOA) — has dissociated itself from reports of endorsement of one of the presidential candidates in the February 14, 2015 election.
Reports credited to some members of the group in the U.S. purportedly endorsed the candidature of an unnamed presidential candidate of a particular political party in Nigeria.
But in a statement, made available to The Guardian at the weekend in Owerri, the group said that after deliberations by its board, it took a decision dissociating the group from such action, as the body has been apolitical.
The statement, signed by Chief Gabe Okoye and Dr. Sam Afolanya, chairman and Secretary of the board, respectively, states:
“The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in the Americas (NIDOA) has been made aware of a worldwide media report concerning the unauthorised political rally in the United States of America, in support of a candidate for election in the coming Nigerian general election.
“In addition, we have seen some pronouncements made on behalf of the organisation purportedly by certain members of the organisation.
“Comments were credited to these individuals and photographs showing banners bearing the logo and name of NIDO were carried in support of a presidential candidate.
“This matter was discussed at the Board meeting of the Organisation on Sunday, January 18, 2015, and the actions and statements attributed to our members have been referred to the NIDOA Board’s Investigation Committee for necessary action.
“NIDOA categorically dissociates itself from any foreknowledge or approval of any support for this privately organised political rally.
“The Organisation unequivocally disclaims the statements credited to these individuals and maintains that they are not representative of the organisation’s position nor those of its membership.
“We affirm that the political support rally was not authorised by the Board of Directors of NIDO Americas.”
The statement made it abundantly clear that unnamed individuals were not speaking for the organisation.
“NIDO is, has been, and remains a non-partisan organisation,” it said.
“The mission of the organisation is to engage the Nigerian government on programmes, propose policies, and provide opinions that will advance the interests and welfare of all Nigerian citizens living in the Diaspora.
“Our core goal is to utilise the NIDO forum as a platform for harnessing the talents and resources of the Nigerian Diaspora for the enhancement of Nigeria’s development.
“To this end, NIDO Americas will work with the Nigerian Government and its policy makers to propose and implement strategies for achieving this goal.”
The statement added: “It is, therefore, regrettable and totally unacceptable that any member of NIDOA would engage in activities that do not align with our policies and bylaws, purportedly, in the name of the organisation.
“NIDOA stands shoulder-to-shoulder with all well-meaning Nigerians in support of:
(a) A free, fair and peaceful electoral process at the local, state and federal levels;
(b) A violence-free election: before, during and after the elections.
(c) A transparent process that would win the confidence of the electorate and minimise post-election litigation and inter-party rancour that may throw our fledgling democracy into an unwarranted tailspin.”
The organisation appealed for a peaceful process throughout the election season, and “request all candidates to place the nation’s interest above their personal in the interest of the nation.”