By Nwokedi Nworisara

Issued at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK) on Sat 29 January 2011 held in the Banking Hall of the Nigeria High Commission, London.

The AGM was Chaired by Minister Akin Oyateru (Head Political, Nigeria High Commission, London). In his opening remarks he welcomed delegates and reminded delegates that they were here to represent the interests of their member groups and to discuss matters of importance to Nigerians in the UK. He enjoined delegates to actively participate and make their voices heard.

In his annual report Dr Mark Abani, outgoing Chair of CANUK outlined the achievements of CANUK in the past year. He enjoined delegates to be active as delegates and to truly represent their members by passing on communication and by raising issues that affect their members. He congratulated the members of the outgoing executive for their hard work while offering the incoming executive his best wishes and support if they require it. He also formally placed on record his appreciation of the support given to CANUK over the years by all the High Commissioners and their staff. He prayed they would continue to provide the same level of support to the incoming executive.

The Financial Secretary (Mr Yusuf Tockan) and Treasurer (Mrs June Douglas) jointly presented the CANUK financial reports and explained that they had now changed in line with the direction at the last AGM to a cash based accounting system.

Professor Oba Nsugbe, QC, SAN, the Legal Adviser, presented a motion moved by the executive to amend the constitution so as to include a provision for an ��Advisory Body'. Following extensive debate the AGM agreed by a majority to amend the constitution and incorporate the new body. But the AGM decided that it wanted the exact wording and content of the amendment to be subject to a full review by a sub-committee which is to report to the new Executive within 90 days. Accordingly it nominated Mrs Remi Ayala, Chief George Nwogu, Dr Dilly Anumba, Mrs Martha Osamor and Mr Ogbu Chinedu to be members of the committee with their terms of reference being to look at the role, composition, membership and related processes of the Advisory Body.

HE Dozie Nwanna, OON, the Ag. High Commissioner, in making his remarks explained with parables the importance that the High Commission attaches to CANUK. He explained that the voice of Nigerians was very powerful in the UK, especially in view of the numbers, and so the High Commission helped form CANUK to provide a common forum for that voice and holds CANUK in high esteem. He reminded Nigerians that they should exercise their right to demand for the right treatment and should encourage others to join CANUK to give greater force to the common voice.

The Report of the outgoing Chair was adopted by the AGM on a motion moved by Mrs Martha Osamor and seconded by Dr Nnanna Igwe. The Finance report was adopted by a motion by Dr Ejikeme Uzoalor and seconded by Dr Sunday Pop-Ola.

A resolution to place on record the thanks of the AGM for the outstanding work of the outgoing executive was made by Dr Dilly Anumba and seconded by Dr Eyo Inameti. This was endorsed by popular acclamation and passed by the AGM and is duly recorded.

Mr Osita Chukwulobelu supported by Dr Ife Akintunde moved the motion for the dissolution of the current executive and this was duly passed by the AGM.

The Election of the post of chair was then undertaken by the electoral presiding officer (Mr Aliyu - Nigeria High Commission, London) and returning officer (Mr Kayoye Ogunsola – Chair NIDOE UK) with the following outcome: Total votes cast 52: Chief Bimbo Roberts Folayan - 43 votes; Charles Okobia - 9 votes; no abstentions. Chief Bimbo Robert Folayan was duly elected and made his opening address as new Chair of CANUK.

Following the elections the High Commissioner later congratulated the new Chair of CANUK and reminded him that he must strive to build on the foundation laid by the outgoing executive.

Other members of the incoming Executive are: Mr Chima Olugu - 1st Vice Chair; Dr Abiodun Fakokunde - General Secretary Mr Yusfuf Tockan - Financial Secretary; Mrs June Douglas - Treasurer: Mrs Remi Aiyela - Legal Advisor; Mr Isaac Namabiri - Welfare Secretary. The following posts were not filled and the AGM agreed that the new executive will decide how to address this. The posts vacant being, 2nd Vice Chair; Assistant General Secretary; Social Secretary and Publicity Secretary.

The outgoing executive then presented Certificates of merit to those Nigerians who have played a key role in supporting, promoting and developing CANUK

The new Chair then presided over the rest of the AGM and under any other business the AGM discussed the need to interact more with the students and to consider a reduced fee for students. The AGM also discussed an issue about communication during the election processes which was noted and will be corrected in the future. Finally a recommendation that a minimum time be specified in the future for the distribution of motions to be debated at the AGM because delegates need time to consult with their members was proposed. This will be noted for the future.

A motion to adopt the Communiqué was made by Dr Eyo Inameti and supported by Dr Ife Akintunde.

Issued this day: 29 January 2011.
PATRONS: HE Dr. Dalhatu Sarki TAFIDA, OFR Nigeria High Commissioner UK; HE Dr C Kolade, CON