All Nigerian American Congress

ANAC SUCCESSFUL SESSION: PANELIST SAY THIRD TERM BAD FOR NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY

All Nigerian American Congress successfully completed its November, 2005 session with many highlight events. Among them was the election of its President which was contested by Hon. Del. Okey Mbonu(MD), Hon. Del.Lateef Kareem (IL), Hon. Del. Stanley Onye (MD). Mr Okey Mbonu the Maryland attorney and present Commissioner for Housing in Prince Georges County, Maryland defeated the two other candidates in a well campaigned events, coming a close second was Dr. Lateef Kareem, the Chicago based physician.

Ms. Temitope Ajayi the honorable delegate from San Fransisco California, beat out the other delegates for Vice President while, Honorable Sam Agbebi (Del. MD)and Hon. Bright Aregs (Del. California), both won for the House Whip. Fourteen House delegates were elected to the Upper house according to the constitution, to include Abdul Lateef Kareem (Del. IL), Prof. Martin Okafor (Del. Ga), Colin Atobajeun (Del. TX), Princess Igwebuike (Del. MD), Akeem Bello (Del. NC), all five for a five year term. And Dr. Peter Agho the New york based physician (Del. NY) and David Ogunnaike (Del. Ca) for the three year term. Seven other were elected for the two year terms, they included Eric Ula-lisa (Del. WI), Chief Ola Aina (Del. CT), Samuel Isokpunwu (Del.TX), Paul Oranika (Del.Ga), Paul Ikhimien (Del.IN), Stanley Onye (Del. MD), Robert Igbinovia (Del. NJ).

The occasion was well attended with United States Congressman for the 10th district of New Jersey, Donald Payne, keynote to the event, the delegates and participants engaged the representative of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Minister Felix Pwol who tried his best to answer the loads of question on issues ranging from the anti-corruption program of the Nigerian administration to development programs in Nigeria.

The program was most productive with the United States delegation members who included ex-United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Howard Jeter, Former Asst. Secretary for State (Africa) Herman Cohen under the second Bush administration with Colin Powell, Randy Echols an expert from a local Washington based think tank. The group was supported by a visiting scholar Sokoto Mohammed and prof. Adesanya, a Nigerian based political think tank group member, who basically gave updates on Nigeria, with Prof. Adesanya lamenting the poor state of labor wages and lack of a national attempt to pay adequate wages for Nigerian citizens. Sokoto Mohammed concentrated on giving updates on the different progress made in Nigeria in recent months, but draw applause when he listed present anti-corruption cases as being prosecuted by the Nigerian government recently.

Nigerian Minister for Finance Ngozi Iweala, and a host of other Nigerian administrative officials were invited including the President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, who sent a personal representative and sent a letter to specify his representative. The President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, was also honored by being presented with the first All Nigerian American Congress Award for his anti-corruption and successful economic programs. Ms Iweala, it was gathered though recently in the USA, was unable to make the event, which was well attended by numerous business groups who had expressed interest in Nigerian investment.

Congressman Payne and Howard Jeter both stressed the need for the anti-corruption campaign of President Obasanjo to be structured to continue for the long term and comprehensively. They also stressed the need for the Nigerian/American economic programs to particularly pay much attention to sectors in the United States where there are natural affiliations, then to continue with the conventional approach in other areas of American working partnerships, as already existing with the oil sector of the United States and Nigerian economy respectively.

The focus of the evening was redirected when questions were raised on a possible third term for the present administration. The American delegation clearly stated that in their wisdom it would be a disaster for the Nigerian administration to consider or even entertain such, because much respect and progress has been made on Nigerian democracy by the present administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo; and that any attempt to introduce a third term, they surmise, would meet serious opposition from within Nigerian and would not be welcomed by the international community. Ambassador Howard Jeter however stressed that being cognizant of President Obasanjo’s integrity in the International Community and there being no such statement coming out of Aso rock, hence entertaining such questions at this time are mere speculations. He said that it is important that Nigeria respects its constitution, a lot has been gained by this present administration for the past eight years, the economic gains, the effective position of women in the administration, the fight against corruption, advance in the democratic process, all of these have brought tremendous respect in the international community, especially for President Olusegun Obsanjo and that such progress is growing in confidence. Nigeria would be wise to stay the course and not draw back to the dark ages of Nigerian politics disrespecting its constitution and democracy.

Asked about where Nigeria should be today, Ambassador Herman Cohen, an expert on African affairs, recalled the years not too long ago when Nigeria was at par with South Korea, Malaysia and other far east nations, that were developing at the same pace with Nigeria in the sixties. He said, today the distance has been greatly widened, and Nigeria must get back on track. As Nigeria goes, so does Africa, remarked the Honorable International Statesman. There is real opportunity here, with the development we see, for the first time in decades, there is not much apprehension over investments in Nigeria and the political situation, it is important that the flame of democracy, anti-corruption and economic development continue without falling back again.

The congress was rounded up with a dinner and a Gala Night, which presented the live music of Shamita El Diego Soukous music Icon and the night extravaganza. The All Nigerian American Congress has resolved to, hire an Executive Director who will continue the administrative lobby here in the United States from Washington, DC on behalf of the estimated Two million Nig

erians in North America and also send a delegation to Nigeria and open its Abuja office in early 2006. “We can not look back” stressed its newly elected President Okey Mbonu and Chairman of the Upper House of Trustees Dan Edokpolo Austin M.D, President and CEO of Cignet Health Corp., a Washington DC based health Corporation with office in Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria. “We have begun this good work, and the next step is to make our programs known to the Nigerian government and lobby on behalf of Nigerians in North America. To do this effectively, we must raise awareness in our communities and make our agenda known both here and in Nigeria.”

Written by
E. Terfa Ula-Lisa Esq
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6 comments
  • I am impressed with all these milestones for our people in diaspora. ANAC we thank you immensely for all the good work. Keep the record on track and seriously persue the plight of our immigrants who are subjected to all forms of racial abuse.

    Atoo Namegh

  • I am a former member of the US Congress and came upon your site. I am now running an intl consulting firm and one of our clients is Virgin Nigeria. As you may know, VN just submitted an application to fly direct from Nigeria to US. We would welcome support from the community for this, especially by sending letters to the US Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta at 400 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20590. Address him as Dear Mr Secretary and tell him why the airline service is important. Pls let us know via email if you send one. Also, VN is going to host meetings in Houston and NY/NJ areas in mid-January to explain to Nigeran-American community leadership its application and what can be done to support it. Let us know if you are interested.

  • Great job. Every Nigerian in America needs to get involved with "All Nigerian American Congress" we can't sit on the fence any longer.

  • Thanks, Terfa, for your response to my request above, I really appreciate it. I'll contact the newly elected President as soon as possible. Congrats to all. Keep up the good work.

  • The comments of our newly elected President speak to the issue raised above. I hereby re-publish same:

    Fellow Nigerians, Nigerian Americans, Friends, Associates:

    It is with great appreciation that I wish to commend and congratulate the "All Nigerian American Congress (ANAC),"and indeed the entire 3 million strong Nigerian American community, on our just concluded first Congressional session in Washington DC.

    This Congressional session is important for several reasons:

    Firstly, we concluded a major milestone by bringing together Nigerian American Delegates from the entire USA, as representatives of all Nigerians in the USA to deliberate on the future of Nigerians both in the USA and in Nigeria.

    Secondly, we successfully concluded our first election, which pitted four outstanding and distinguished candidates: Dr. Lateef Kareem

    (Illinois) , Professor Martin Okafor (Georgia), Dr. Stanley Onye (Maryland), and Okey Mbonu Esq (Maryyland), in a campaign for the

    Presidency of "All Nigerian American Congress

    (ANAC)." Thanks of course to the spirited debates and campaign that went on, you elected my humble self, the first President of "All Nigerian American Congress (ANAC)."

    The Vice Presidential race was vigorously ran by Chief Temitope Ajayi, a CEO from greater Los Angeles CA, and Peter Agho, a New York physician. Though both candidates were outstanding, in the end Chief Temitope Ajayi emerged victorious and clinched the office for our West Coast community. The positions of "Whip" was clinched by Hon. Sampson Agbebi Delegate from Maryland, and Hon. Bright Aregs, Delegate from California. Numerous Trustees were also elected.

    The Tasks Ahead

    Now that we have all our legitimate structures in place, we have rolled up our sleeves to go to work. This Nigerian American community which is larger in number than some Nigerian states, and contributes more money to Nigeria than any State or Country in the world will roar. And I promise you our impact will be felt both here and in Nigeria, as long as all hands are on deck.

    My administration is about to embark on some fast track programs. The list below though not exhaustive, contains some of my fast track initiatives for the next few months.

    1. To conclusively pass all the "Bills" that were

    meticulously crafted by our distinguished Delegates (Diaspora Voting Rights, Seats in Nigeria's Federal Legislature, Healthcare Crisis and Social Security and Retirement Benefits Bills).

    2. To initiate the establishment of a special

    "fast track Visa and Immigration processing program" at Nigerian Embassies and Consulates, for Nigerian Americans and all Dual Citizen Nigerians, entering all Nigerian ports of entry with foreign

    passports. This will in effect lead to 3 processing lanes at Nigeria's ports: (a) Nigerian Citizens, (b) Nigerian-born foreign citizens, (c) Foreign citizens, in that order. This among other incentives would reflect an appreciation of the 10 billion to 14 billion dollars of direct aid and investments we are bringing to Nigeria yearly.

    3. To initiate a summer Educational Exchange

    Program starting summer 2006, where American students will spend 1 month in Abuja Nigeria, while,

    Nigerian students will spend 1 month in Washington, DC or elsewhere in the USA to cement cultural and political ties between the 2 nations.

    4. To conduct (a) A Trade Fair in the USA, to

    match Nigerian manufacturers to American business

    people, and (b) Conduct another Trade Fair in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna to match American businesses with Nigerian business people (To be planned and executed by our "Trade Representatives" in the 2nd Quarter 2006).

    5. To effectuate, our first official delegation to

    Nigeria's Aso Rock, and Federal Legislature, and a

    corresponding visit to the White House and US Congress in our base here in Washington, DC.

    6. Finally, we will embark on the most aggressive

    membership and fundraising drives in history. Our membership drive will center around our US States and metro areas. The process will be driven by state "Chief Delegates" for the various states. We want to bring every Nigerian family in the USA on

    board.

    Please indicate your areas of interest in consequent communications, as all hands will definitely be on deck.

    I will be contacting members from time to time for ideas, and to fill up our numerous appointments, including committee appointments. I will also be designating an Executive Secretary in the coming week, who will collate members Resume's for

    appointments and special assignments. Feel free to email or contact me for your invaluable ideas.

    God Bless Us All.

    Sincerely,

    Okey Mbonu

    President, All Nigerian American Congress (ANAC), Washington, DC USA

    Interim Telephone numbers:

    Day: 301 883-3187 Ext. 5, Alternate: 301 570-0575, Cell: 240 447-0636, Eve: 301 260-9526

  • Could you please tell me more about this Nigeria america Congress I have never heard of it! What makes one member a Hon. Del and the other just a Del What are the functions and responsibilities of the various positions How do we set up in my "neck of the hood" or State What is/are the requiremnts to membership I am all out for whatever is going to bring progress, stability, integrity, and peace to Nigeria. If this is one of those Nigerian goalless social groups, you do not have to respond to my request. Thanks.