THREE new officials have joined the executive committee of the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (Canuk) to fill up the three remaining posts that were vacant after the body’s last elections and annual general meeting (AGM).
At the recent AGM held on May 22, 11 of the 14 positions on Canuk’s executive committee were filled but three remained vacant. As a result, by-elections had to be held to fill the vacant positions of treasurer, legal adviser and assistant secretary and these have now been filled with Ily Maisanda, Jennifer Obaseki and Victor James taking office respectively.
In a bid to hit the ground running with a full team, the Canuk executive committee decided to fill the posts immediately by calling for nominations from its member organisations. After the deadline for the submission of nominations ended, the exco reviewed all the submissions and voted on all of the candidates.
Mr Maisanda, a chartered accountant and member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (Ican) UK, was nominated by Canuk member Professionals in Accounting and Commerce. A native of Gombe State, Mr Maisanda is currently the deputy vice chairman of Ican UK and its former technical secretary.
Ms Obaseki, a lawyer who owns her own chambers in central London, is currently the president of the British Nigerian Law Forum (BNLF). Her law practice holds weekly free sessions for Nigerians needing legal advice and she is well known within the community to have taken on cases involving Nigerians.
Mr James, who hails from Rivers State, is the president of Niger Delta Youth Association UK. Shuttling inbetween Coventry where he lives and Wales where he works, Mr James brings more regional spread to the Canuk executive team, alongside assistant welfare secretary Mary Oluwabukola Adekugbe who lives in Rochdale.
Canuk publicity secretary HRH Princess Moradeun Adedoyin-Solarin said: “It is very important that we start off with a full team because we have an ambitious programme. All our constitutional reviews for instance must be handled by the legal adviser, so there is no way we could have got going without having one in place.
“However, we did not want to just co-opt people in secret, therefore we asked our member organisations to nominate candidates. As an executive committee, we felt it was important to provide this degree of transparency.”
Canuk chairman Ayo Akinfe, added: “Canuk was founded as an umbrella body for all Nigerian associations in the UK and it is now our challenge to attract as many of them as possible. We have begun reaching out to all kind of associations including alumni bodies, state-based associations, regional UK bodies, professional associations and special interest groups to get them to join Canuk.”
“Since we assumed office, the pace has been relentless as we have asked for nominations to fill our numerous committees and we have had interest groups like mental health practitioners, event planners and disabled carers all indicate that they want to form associations and affiliate to Canuk. We have commenced talks with the National Association of Nigerian Communities about merging and Canuk has been invited to speak at the public debate on constitutional review in Nigeria.
“Already, our efforts have been yielding results as the UK alumni association of Hussey College Warri has applied to join Canuk and we are in talks with the Nigerian Schools Federation about them joining too. We have commenced talks with the Nigerian DJs Association UK about joining Canuk and are in discussions with the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association UK about them returning to the fold.”
Jumoke Ariyo, Canuk’s first vice chairman, added: “The three new officials complemented the executive committee immensely as not only are all three of them sound professionals but they also add geographical spread to the equation” She also pointed out that they also provide more federal character in relation to Nigeria.
Following the addition of these three officials, the full executive committee now looks like this – Ayo Akinfe – Chairman, Olajumoke Ariyo – First Vice Chair, Chris Agbai – Second Vice Chair, Titilola Danso – Secretary, Victor James – Assistant Secretary, HRH Princess Moradeun Adedoyin-Solarin – Publicity Secretary, Mohammed Yiosese – Assistant Publicity Secretary, Doyin Olabode-Owoeye – Social Secretary, Toyin Balogun – Assistant Social Secretary, Judy Akuta – Welfare Secretary, Mrs Mary Oluwabukola Adekugbe – Assistant Welfare Secretary, Princess Christian-Iwuagwu – Financial Secretary, Jennifer Obaseki – Legal Adviser and Ily Maisanda – Treasurer.