UK diaspora umbrella body Canuk to swear-in new executive committee at April 8 AGM

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DIASPORA umbrella body the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (Canuk) is set to swear-in its new executive committee on April 8 at its annual general meeting (AGM) as the tenure of the current group of officials ends next month.

In line with the dictates of Canuk’s constitution, an electoral commission has been formed to conduct fresh elections and it has begun receiving nomination. Chaired by Chief Anthony Ajiduah, the chairman of Ohaneze Ndigbo UK, the other members of the panel include Victoria Ndunagum, Councillor Michael Adeyeye and Emmanuel Namah, the minister of welfare and education at the high commission.

With nominations already closed, several candidates have already been elected unopposed and elections for the remaining offices is currently taking place. Elections for the contested offices is being done by email and this process ends on March 28, with the chairmanship being voted for at the AGM on April 8.

Among those elected unopposed are first vice chairman Ronke Udofia, second vice chairman Malcolm Benson, financial secretary Flora Njoku, publicity secretary Jermaine Sanwoolu, assistant publicity secretary Sheryl Coker, welfare secretary Henry Okosun, assistant welfare secretary Agatha Anyiwo, social secretary Jana Shodiya, assistant social secretary Tonye Jackreece and treasurer Regina Tockan. There was no entry for assistant secretary and the post will now be filled by the new executive committee co-opting someone into the position.

Elections will hold for the position of chairman though where one of last year’s contestants Dr Boma Douglas, a community activist and highly respected engineer is the frontrunner. He is being challenged by little-known Leeds medical doctor Dr Babatunde Gbolade.

There will also be a contest for the position of secretary general, where community activist, blogger and event planned Jumoke Ariyo is seen as the clear favourite. She is being challenged by nurse Yemisi Adegbite, who is also relatively unknown.

For the position of legal adviser, two lawyers, both sponsored by the British Nigerian Law Forum, are battling it out. They are Juliet Benson and Rebecca Okorie and this contest could go either way and neither of them is considered a political heavyweight.

Outgoing Canuk secretary Dr Olugbenga Coker, said: “We received a total of 17 nominations for 13 of the vacant posts as no nomination was received for the post of assistant general secretary. Out of the 17 nominations, one was rejected as the sponsoring association is not on the list of associations accredited to vote at the 2017 AGM/elections.

“Now, the remaining 16 candidates will now contest for the 13 positions. Thank you for your support as we move closer to a peaceful AGM/elections and transition to a new exco on 8 April 2017.”

In line with the Canuk tradition, all the elected executives will be sworn-in at the high commission on April 8 after the election of a chairman and the conclusion of the AGM. Mr Namah, who has been working on the process will be expected to administer the oath to the new members of the executive committee.

Over the last week, the Nigerian community is the UK has been busy hosting the Ooni of Ife Oba Babatunde Adeyeye Ogunwusi. He has been visiting numerous Nigerian communities across the country, schools, attending interactive sessions, meeting diaspora leaders and participating in Commonwealth events.

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