PLANS to organise a series of mouth-watering Nigerian seminars and symposia in the UK were launched yesterday when the Nigerian Independence Day Annual Lectures (Nidal) UK held its first meeting and began discussing its 2020 programme.
Put together to organise annual independence day lectures every October, Nidal will begin its operations this year when Nigeria celebrates 60 of being a sovereign nation. It will seek to invite speakers from Nigeria to debate a host of topics at choice venues such as Chatham House, the House of Commons and the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
Made up of several Nigerian community leaders in the UK and friends of Nigeria, Nidal will be looking to not only make its seminars and lectures an annual event but also put together a communiqué at the end of each summit and submit it to the government. Its range of topics will include contemporary developments in Nigeria as well as some of the unique challenges diasporans face such as knife crime in London.
Nidal spokesman Ayo Akinfe said: “This is a very exciting venture as we are pioneers in this area. Growing up in Nigeria, we all used to attend independence day parades as school children but there were never national day lectures, so we want to introduce that element to the festivities.
This year for instance, among the topics we are looking to debate include knife crime in the UK, attracting diaspora investment into Nigeria, combating insecurity in Nigeria, eliminating illiteracy across Nigeria, setting ourselves a target of annual double digit economic growth, etc. We are communicating with venues like Chatham House, The House of Commons and the Commonwealth Secretariat and as October nears, we will publish our list of speakers and topics.
“Given how innovative and dynamic Nigerians are, there are bound to be all sorts of activities around independence day, with artists, entertainers, cultural troupes, community associations, etc all organising different kind of events. Ours, however, is the only brainstorming session and we hope that it will establish itself as the primary Nigerian annual intellectual debate globally.”
Among Nidal’s members are Yanga TV boss Lindsay Oliver, Ben Television founder Alistair Soyode, the chairman of the British African Business Association David Smith and Nwabueze Nwokolo, the daughter of Nigeria’s first ever speaker, aviation minister and foreign minister Jaja Nwachukwu. Nigerian community leaders involved include Ayo Akinfe, Ronke Udofia, Doyin Ola, Ayan de First, Chima Olugh, Bunmi Mustapha, Nma Ojeogwu, Patrick Obidoyin, Tina Onyia, Jumoke Ariyo, Victoria Fasan, Susan Fajana-Thomas, Bukola Adekugbe, Bukola Olofinjana, Toyin Eweje, Priscila Nwikpo, Alex Achebe and Rose Graham.
Other members include Nikky Emelike, Rose Onyeka, Bola Ganiyu, Agatha Ewruje, Yetunde Adeshile, Abi Bada, Dapo Williams, Jenny Okafor, Iyabo Alabi, Ine Duke, Yomi Koiki, Jimmy Eniola, Liz Ikoriko, Lade Olugbemi, Dapo Taiwo and Flora Njoku. Over the coming months, they will be contacting prominent Nigerians and firming up plans to get them to come and speak at this year’s inaugural event.
According to Mr Akinfe, one of the beauties of Nidal is that it does not cost anything as there are no venue or entertainment costs. Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that does not have an annual independence day lecture and Nidal is hoping to correct this.