The Retired Ambassador Peter Anegbeh’s Inaugural Diplomatic Coup d’état Speech: A Rejoinder (1)

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.

Government?s preparedness to provide initial funding for the set up of the organisation should not be misconstrued, rather it should be welcomed. Besides, if the truth must be told, there is no major NGO in the world, that has not received or continued to benefit in one way or the other from government support.

In addition, contrary to speculations and expectations in some quarters, the government?s intention is that NIDO-America operate purely as a self-sustaining NGO.

9. With regards to working with existing organizations, as has been suggested, it is only fair to recognize in the first instance the cumbersome nature of working with so many professional, ethnic, political, socio-cultural and other Nigerian organisations in America. Given the likely administrative problems this might create, it was considered necessary to encourage Nigerians to form a national body that would not only represent their mutual interests, but also complement the existence of other Nigerian organizations in the Diaspora.

Besides, we do know that many Nigerians do not belong to some of the existing organizations in America. NIDO-America might end up as first among equals, but its existence will in no way threaten any existing organisation in America or elsewhere in the Diaspora.

10. Finally, may we appeal to all Nigerians in the Diaspora especially to those who have expressed deep-rooted concerns about government?s involvement to keep an open mind and participate either now or in the future in NIDO-America.

It will serve no purpose to wage an unnecessary campaign against the establishment of NIDO-America, nor to engage in acts of diseminating falsehood and name-calling against those who support the ideals of NIDO-America which no doubt will eventually benefit Nigerians in the Diaspora.
On the other hand, for those who have decided to give government the benefit of the doubt and have responded favourably, we wish to reiterate that once NIDO-America is launched, the challenge and the future of NIDO will largely be on your shoulders. The challenge, thereafter, will be
a. how to build NIDO-America into a formidable self-sustaining and non- profit NGO and

b. how to mobilize Nigerians in the Diaspora to achieve NIDO-America?s objectives.

11. In the meantime, we welcome useful ideas, proposals, and suggestions that will ensure the success of the Washington meeting, under the following headings:-

a. Aims and objectives
b. Organisational Structure
c. Management of NIDO-America
d. Funding
e. Mobilisation of Nigerians to participate in NIDO-America

Please forward your submissions as indicated above directly and solely to the Consulate-General of Nigeria (Atlanta) on or before February 21, 2001 via our e-mail or fax as follows:-

iii. Fax: (770) 394-4671
2. We, therefore, cordially invite all Nigerians and representatives of Nigerian organizations with shared vision in the formation of NIDO-America to the Washington meeting.
Joe Keshi
Consul General

February 16, 2001

Evident from this mail is the fact is that NIDO affairs is purely that of its members. Retired Ambassador Keshi who spoke the mind of Nigerian government has said it all: “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.

Also, since a structure of NIDO-MY is already on ground in Malaysia and which as written the I refuse-to-go Ambassador Anegbeh (rtd) is “now on track and proper footing” then, there is no reason whatsoever for any interference from the High Commissioner. It is obvious that some ulterior motives which would later be mentioned have prompted Anegbeh to stage this diplomatic coup d’état against the people of Nigeria in Malaysia

Again, former President Olusegun Obasanjo while advising Nigerians in the Diaspora to set up a body for themselves stated that in Atlanta Washington DC in 2000 that:

“What we are planning is to get you together as a body and then rather than deal you professionals individually deal with you as a body because that organisation is also doing a lot for itself. It can act as a body of consultants for who state government, local government, federal governments etc. they can put themselves together to see what they can do here too. A lot is being done. But rather than for all to start dealing with each of you one by one, it would be difficult. Through an organisation you can help yourself – self-help and any help that government wants to render would also be easier.”

In addition, Ambassador Joe Keshi, OON, in a keynote address delivered to Nigerians in the Diaspora Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Organization (NIDO), Canada, Calgary Chapter, on Saturday 8 May, 2010, in Greenwood lnn NE, Calgary declared:

It is no longer news that the federal government under President Olusegun Obasanjo supported and encouraged the establishment of NIDO, to among others, serve as the platform for the Nigerian Diaspora engagement with the Nigerian State. You are all familiar with the arguments behind government‘s decision to build a mutually beneficial relationship with its nationals abroad and why, from inception the emphasis was on those with the requisite skills, and expertise as well as those who can make very meaningful contributions to the development of our beloved country. Suffice it to note that a major reason behind its establishment was the fact that a couple of countries, notably India and China had successfully tapped into the huge reservoir of knowledge, skills and expertise of their Diaspora to transform their countries.”

From the above two quoted speech extracts, the government merely encouraged and assisted in the formation of the body. The government and its officials have no right to intervene in the affairs of NIDO, a Non- Governmental Organization.

In the fourth paragraph of the crisis-igniting speech that is under scrutiny, Mr. Anegbeh was largely observed to have doctored and re-written history of NIDO-MY. It is no exaggeration that diplomatic authoritarianism was seen at its height as Mr. Anegbeh arrogated unto himself responsibilities that are outside the job specification of any officer of the Nigeria High Commission

In the opening part of this paragraph, it was stated that, “However, the NIDO-MY I met on my arrival did not fit into the expectation of our government.” Here, reference was being made to Prof. Suleyman A. Muyibi’s led-NIDO-MY (2004-2006; 2006-2008). On an explicit note, it was this leadership that pioneered the formation of the Malaysian Chapter of NIDO. It is fair that kudos be given to some veterans within the leadership rank of our predecessor, because, they fought hard to make sure that people of questionable characters that have been using the name of the Organization to perpetrate atrocities were not allowed breathing space. It took concerted efforts of Profs. Suleyman Muyibi and Francis Achike in particular, together with other members who rallied round these individuals to dislodge jailbirds, drug peddlers, admission racketeers, marriage scammers, human traffickers, and others, full-blown or sympathizers of fraudsters from the membership rank of this Organization.

The decisive battle won by Prof. Muyibi-led NIDO-MY was when they conducted a fiercely contested election which produced as their successor, a new crop of thorough bred, focused, principled, cultured and reformist minded 2008-2010 NIDO-MY Executives. Those who lost out were mostly sympathizers of the yahoo boys who are disguising themselves as business persons. Most of them have no valid residency in Malaysia. Those among them with residence permits, got it through student visa-schools. All they want is to use NIDO-MY as a cover for their illegal activities. This reality was well known to all and sundry and witnessed by Mr. Anegbeh. Perhaps, it was this reality that prompted Mr. Anegbeh to have said in the second paragraph of his self-contradictory speech that, “let me once again seize this opportunity to thank the pioneer leadership of NIDO-MY… for the arduous task for putting NIDO-MY on track and on proper footing as envisioned by the Federal Government of Nigeria.” A sane mind would ask why did the same Anegbeh declared in the fourth paragraph that, “However, the NIDO-MY I met on my arrival did not fit into the expectation of our government”.

For the record, Mr. Anegbeh frustrated attempts to conduct the election that produced the outgoing NIDO-MY Executives on two occasions. On the first occasion, Mr. Anegbeh who volunteered to get the premises of the High Commission ready for the election that scheduled for 29 November, 2008, deliberately failed to honour his promise. This information was not communicated to NIDO members who upon arriving the venue were told to go back home. This left Prof. Muyibi so dejected that he sent out a mail to NIDO members, the extract of which reads:

May this mail meet you in good mood as we all see the anger and frustration brought about by our inability to hold the Annual General Meeting(AGM) today 29th November 2008 as planned. This postponement has come because we did not put Plan B in place and relied 100% probably justified on the Nigerian High Commission’s promise to host the meeting including provision of all required facilities such as canopy, chairs, refreshments etc.

This information was confirmed on Wednesday 26th November 2008 through the Secretary-General, so all prior arrangements made by the AGM Planning Committee Chaired by the NIDO-MY Secretary General was put aside. It was therefore very shocking, embarrassing and humiliating to me personally as the President and in particular all the present executive committee members who were at the venue of the meeting with many members just hanging around without any place to sit. One would have at least expected the Nigerian High Commission to inform me or any of the executive committee members about their inability to fulfill their promise some days before the event in order for us to have made alternative arrangements on our own to hold this august meeting.

On behalf of the Executive Committee I hereby apologise to all NIDO-MY members who sacrificed other important matters they had to attend to come for the NIDO-MY AGM.

We really appreciate the patience, maturity, cool – headedness and professionalism displayed by all members during the trying moments this morning at the Nigerian High Commission. We will try our best not to allow such an occurrence in the future. As a follow up to this therefore the AGM will be held very soon and the date and location will be conveyed to all members once

As later learnt, the postponement was partly because auditors were around on that same day, so it was considered suicidal by Anegbeh to have people around for whatever reason.

In the same fourth paragraph of the speech under review, Mr. Anegbeh used the word “erstwhile NIDO-MY” to refer to a legally elected and standing NIDO-MY 2008-2010 Executives. Since NIDO-MY is yet to conduct the terminal AGM where the outgoing Executives will be dissolved by the General Assembly, then, by declaring such a validly existing administration as erstwhile, Mr. Anegbeh has committed a serious criminal offence. This amounts to staging a coup d’état against the legitimate government of a Non-Governmental Organization by a retired government official. In addition, since Mr. Anegbeh and the High Commission do not have any constitutionally vested power to hire and fire NIDO-MY Executives, then, such diplomatic tyrannism has exposed the unbridled lust of this retired diplomat to hijack and hand over NIDO-MY to those with whom he shares vested ulterior interests.

While still treacherously basking in his self-affirming membership of NIDO-MY and his unbridled appetite for glorifying fictitious claims, Mr. Anegbeh went ahead to state that, “…that Executive was mandated by the house after their election that was conducted at the Residence, to fashion out a new constitution in line with NIDO concept.” The phrase, “that Executive was mandated by the house after their election” clearly confirms the argument that Mr. Anegbeh has deceptively confirmed on himself, the membership of NIDO-MY house (Assembly) and succeeded to con the innocent ones who were lured into his illicit gathering under the guise that it was a Presidential calling.

Mr. Anegbeh made other disingenuous statements that NIDO-MY Assembly had taken place in his residence, when in reality; such a conjured claim must have taken place in his imagination or dream. To hoodwink people that such fantastical claim actually took place in time, Anegbeh submitted, “You will realize that in several meetings held at the Residence, the executive examined various constitutions of NIDO from Europe, America and Canada, as guide.” The usage of the word “You” in this sense conveys the meaning that those he was addressing broadly comprise outgoing NIDO-MY Executives, and registered member of the NIDO-MY, who have gathered, listening to Mr. Anegbeh’s speech in a rightful NIDO-MY Assembly. This was never the case. In fact this shows how desperate the man is, in his reckless adventure to deceive the entire public by fabricating lies. Again, NIDO-MY’s Secretariat records show that there was no time the outgoing Executive of the Organization held any meeting in Mr. Anegbeh’s residence whereby NIDO-MY constitution was examined alongside those of other chapters from Europe, America and Canada as a guide.

What is actually surprising is that Mr. Anegbeh misinformed the likes of Chief James Emarievbe, Madam Francisca O. A. Marinho and those who were in his illegal jamboree that NIDO-MY does not have a constitution. However, to expose his lies to new members of staff in the Commission, copies of NIDO-MY Constitution were on 15, November, 2010 given to them and their dejected facial expressions show how disappointed they were with their lying boss. One would have expected Mr. Anegbeh to look for other means of furthering his ulterior agenda by desisting from misinforming people that NIDO-MY does not have a constitution. Yet, he pathologically proceeded to authoritatively assert in his 20 November, 2010, inaugural diplomatic coup d’état speech that, “To my dismay, that Executive did not live to expectation as they failed to come up with any constitution till the expiration of their term.” For the record, again, contrary to Mr. Anegbeh’s flawed claim, the democratically elected 2008-2010 NIDO-MY Executive body that he was referring to is yet to be dissolved by any known NIDO-MY legitimate Assembly.

One is little wondered how the intensity of the lies in the said speech was increasing with every new paragraph because in the words of Aristotle, The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand fold. Why would the number one representative of the Nigerian government in Malaysia descend this low? Tad Williams offers a better clue when he said, “We tell lies when we are afraid… afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.”

Again, it is observed that in the fourth paragraph, Mr. Anegbeh continued with his roguish propaganda by referring to the seating President of NIDO-MY as erstwhile. By also alleging that the outgoing NIDO-MY President, Assoc. Prof. Dr. AbdulKarim S. Mohammed only attended only twice, meetings on the 50th Independence anniversary, Mr. Anegbeh, is again, in his usual way, blackmailing this soft-spoken and principled personality. The outgoing Secretary General of NIDO-MY was in a meeting where Assoc. Prof. Dr. AbdulKarim S. Mohammed corrected this false impression when it was reported by Mr. Muhammad Ghali Ahmad, a staff of the High Commission, that Mr. Anegbeh was peddling this misinformation. On this same occasion, Dr. AbdulKarim told Mr. Anegbeh that there was no time he failed to honour his commitments to assignments of this nature, except while away on a self-sponsored trip to Nigeria for the Diaspora Day or when he was not sent an official notice for meetings of this kind. Mr. Anegbeh downplayed the issue and pretended as if it was a mere rumour. To have recycled same fictitious claim in his subversive speech of 20 November, 2010 shows that for a long while, the instrument of blackmail has been gradually put to use by Mr. Anegbeh to castigate, crucify and indict the amiable person of Dr. AbdulKarim as a passive leader. To further paint a bad impression of the person of AbdulKarim, Mr. Anegbeh vindictively added that Dr. AbdulKarim abandoned his duties as the Chairperson of the 50th Independence Anniversary Sub-Committee. In his words, Mr. Anegbeh writes,

“he accepted to chair the Cultural and Event Committee and promised to coordinate and involve students and lecturers for events on the celebration. However, while waiting for him to attend another meeting which he failed to attend but rather sent an email to the mission informing that NIDO-MY was organization lecture on the 25 September, 2010 and that five governors, including the Lagos State Governor, the CBN Governor and others had been invited. He then solicited Mission’s assistance in providing entertainment and airport reception… Disappointedly, nothing was heard from him about the lecture of NIDO-MY neither did he and the Executive attend the Business Forum held at Niko Hotel with five speakers from Nigeria.”

In response to the above, first, NIDO-MY’s participation in the High Commission’s commemoration of the 50th Independence anniversary was based on unsolicited request from the latter. In fact, the unprecedented ground breaking success recorded by the outgoing NIDO-MY Executives during the diasporic National Dialogue Conference which they laudably organized on 26 September, 2009 was the reason why the High Commission sought NIDO-MY’s helping hands in the organization of the 50th Independence anniversary events. Based on this track record, the outgoing NIDO-MY President was appointed to chair the Cultural Dance Sub-Committee and not the Cultural and Event Committee as wrongfully claimed Mr. Anegbeh.

However, during one meeting which held without any notification issued the outgoing NIDO-MY President, Mr. Muhammad Ghali A. reported that Mr. Anegbeh has merged the Cultural Committee and Event Sub-Committees into one Committee. The headship of the new Committee, named Sub-Event Committee was then allocated to the man who had promised to mobilize self-sponsored cultural p

erformers to Malaysia. Based on this development, it was realized that NIDO-MY’s role in the 50th Independence Anniversary being planned by the High Commission has been taken over by the Sub-Committee on Event, hence, the need to focus on other matters. So, why the crocodile tears and campaign of calumny for an unsolicited appointment that was later awarded to someone else’s? Mr. Anegbeh is challenged to provide details on the whereabouts of the self-sponsored cultural dancers because some of us have before now, expressed fear they might not return back to Nigeria, hence, increasing the number of the league of trafficked Nigerians who are in Malaysia.

Regarding the e-mail that Mr. Anegbeh was referring to, it was not the outgoing NIDO-MY President who sent that particular mail. It was Mr. Adebiyi Jelili A, the outgoing Sec. General of NIDO-MY who sent the mail to Ms. Francisca O. A. Marinho, Minister (Economic, Education and Students’ Welfare). The content of the mail which was sent on the 21 August 2010 shows that neither was it stated that NIDO-MY was inviting 5 Governors nor Mr. Sanusi Lamido, the CBN Governor. The mail reads thus:

Written by
Adebiyi Jelili Abudugana
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