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Nigerians in South Africa Seek Avenues To Foster Unity And Harmony Among Ethnic Nationalities

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By Goodluck Ikiebe

Nigerians in South Africa have resolved to brainstorm on strategic ways of fostering unity and harmony among citizens of different ethnic backgrounds living in Southern Africa.

The decision was reached at a conference recently held in Johannesburg with the theme, “The One Nigeria Conundrum: Unravelling the Challenges and Difficulties in Achieving that One Nigeria Utopia”.

The conference was organised by Nigerian Spice, a non-profit community-based organisation dedicated to promoting a responsible and respectable Nigerian community and showcasing Nigeria’s rich heritage in Southern Africa.

The convener of the conference and Nigerian Spice Founder, Princess (Dr) Olubunmi Ogunsemoyin Alabi, told participants that the confab was informed by the need to address growing concerns about divisions and acrimony caused by the proliferation of Nigerian community associations in South Africa and neighbouring Southern African countries.

She underscored the need for Nigerians to be proud of their country and heritage wherever they find themselves.

Dr Alabi stressed that the negative perception of Nigerians in the Diaspora called for a better way to tell the Nigerian story in an organised and far-reaching manner.

According to a communique released at the end of the event, the panellists and discussants agreed on the need to discard the stereotypes, mutual suspicion, and distrust among different ethnic groups carried over from Nigeria to the Diaspora.

They also stressed the need to sanction criminal members of the Nigerian community denting the image of Nigerians and Nigeria, and respect, support, and empower one another in a manner that would facilitate the growth of all and enhance the image of the country.

Below is the full text of the communique:

“The confab, with the theme ‘The One Nigeria Conundrum: Unravelling the Challenges and Difficulties in Achieving that One Nigeria Utopia’, was organised by Nigerian Spice, a community-based organisation dedicated to promoting a responsible and respectable Nigerian community in Southern Africa and showcasing Nigeria’s rich heritage.

The Conference Moderator, Dr Anne Aduke Ijeoma, welcomed participants and announced a two-part programme for the event, which she described as a family dinner conference to tell one another the truth with a view to changing the negative narratives about Nigeria and Nigerians.
The first session was dedicated to discussing the ‘Problems with Achieving and Sustaining a Unified Nigeria’, while the second explored ‘Solutions and the Practical Way Forward’.

In her opening remarks, the convener of the conference and Nigerian Spice Founder, Princess (Dr) Olubunmi Ogunsemoyin Alabi, told participants that the confab was informed by the need to address growing concerns about divisions and acrimony caused by the proliferation of Nigerian community associations in South Africa and neighbouring Southern African countries.
She underscored the need for Nigerians to be proud of their country and heritage wherever they find themselves.
Dr Alabi stressed that the negative perception of Nigerians in the Diaspora called for a better way to tell the Nigerian story in an organised and far-reaching manner.
The problems with achieving and sustaining a unified Nigeria as well as solutions and the practical way forward were extensively discussed, at the end of which the panellists and participants agreed on the need to:
Discard the stereotypes, mutual suspicion, and distrust among different ethnic groups carried over from Nigeria to the Diaspora
Sanction criminal members of the Nigerian community denting the image of Nigerians and Nigeria
Respect, support, and empower one another in a manner that would facilitate the growth of all and enhance the image of the country.
Discourage the proliferation and support of community associations with self-serving agenda.
Organise cultural activities and social events that promote Nigerian values and heritage.
Work towards a common Nigerian identity based on the core values of diligence, honesty, hospitality, and the quest for excellence and not ethnic affiliations.
Educate young members of Nigerian Diasporan families on these values.
Work closely with the Nigerian diplomatic missions to realise the vision of a utopia in which Nigerians would live harmoniously with one another and with their host communities.
Among the panellists were Applied Policy and Public Sector Economics expert and pioneer member of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO SA), Professor Edwin Ijeoma, the founding president of Nigeria Union South Africa, Mr Jason Osuafor, and Ms Adeyiga Abisoye, the immediate past President of the Association of Nigerian Students at the University of Kwazulu Natal and representative of the National Association of Nigerian Students South Africa.
Others were Barrister Tunji Omotola, a lawyer, stockbroker, financial journalist and certified wine entrepreneur, Engr Abiodun Ebenezer Akinwale, a registered professional civil engineer working as a project manager with the University of South Africa, and Dr Chioma Anukogu, a research associate in the Department of Sociology, University of Johannesburg, and member, South African Sociological Association.
The participants included Hon. Sunny Wenike Douglas, President Ohaneze Ndigbo South Africa, Hon. Siji Olorunisola, President National Association of Yoruba Descendants South Africa, Nigerian Lives Matter Convener in South Africa, Prince Lukman Adebowale Adesina, Mr Kenneth Onyekachi Ihemekwele, President Nigerian Community in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Professor JAO Omoshoro-Jones, a renowned academic, who has been in South Africa for over three decades, veteran medical practitioner, Dr Derin Hezekiah Alagbe, and South Africa-based Nollywood actor, producer, director, and content creator, Ugo Tuvi James, among many other community leaders, accomplished professionals, and entrepreneurs.

Princess (Dr) Olubunmi Ogunsemoyin Alabi
(Founder Nigerian Spice @ https://nigerianspice.org/ )
Conference Host

Dr Anne Aduke Ijeoma
(Public Policy Expert/Consultant)
Conference Moderator

Mr Tony Ekata
(Pioneer Bureau Chief, Voice of Nigeria, Pretoria)
Conference Rapporteur

Global News Network Correspondent
Global News Network Correspondenthttps://globalnewsnetwork.com.ng
GNN is a News blog based in Nigeria to educate, inform and Analyse issues of interest like Politics, Health, Solid Minerals, Energy and Power, Transportation, Defence and Security, Sports and Entertainment to our teeming audience. Stories are generated by seasoned veteran Editors and Journalists. We Say It As It Is.

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