The Nigerian Association in BC was founded in 1984 through the initiatives of few Nigerians, mostly students of UBC, SFU, BCIT and other colleges then. It was named the Nigerian Association of British Columbia; the first President was Dr. Godwin Eni. The purpose of the Association was to create a forum for Nigerians to meet, socialize and discuss global issues, including news from Nigeria.
The Association went through rapid changes, over time, as turnover of members, who were mostly students, was very rapid. The Association became relatively stable and increasing in number beginning in the early 90’s, as membership became larger and more inclusive—less composed of students and more of Nigerians and Nigeria- Canadians who were not necessarily students. The Association was formally registered in 1990, with the BC Registry Services, in Victoria, as the Nigeria Cultural Association of British Columbia. Mr. Emmanuel Onukwulu assumed the Presidency of the newly recognized Association. It was incorporated in year 2000.
In the late 1990s, the Association became unstable due to dwindling membership, low community spirit, inability of the Association to meet the aspirations and demands of its membership, lack of vision, shortage of funds and wrangling among the leadership. The Association was in this position until 1999, when Dr. Godwin Eni summoned the Nigerian community to a meeting, to discuss the strategies to move the Association forward from that standstill position. The meeting came up with following recommendations:
A new constitution was drafted based on the recommendations of the special committee; this constitution was ratified in 1999; new executive members were then elected to implement the changes and direct the affairs of the Association—volunteers were appointed to the newly constituted committees of the Association. The Association has been moving forward slowly since then, at times led by Executive body and at times by Caretaker Committee. Overtime, some of these recommendations, either by motion passed or via updated Constitutions—have changed to meet today’s objectives and purposes. Recently, by a motion passed and approved by the BC Registry Services (in Victoria, BC), the name of the Association was changed from Nigeria Canada Development Association of British Columbia to Nigeria Canada Association of British Columbia—to reflect what the Association is specifically all about. The recent executive body (2013-2017), under the leadership of Madam Comfort Ero, have stressed the need for a Nigerian House in BC, and have been working relentlessly on achieving this goal; the intentions for this house are to have a place that will serve as location for Consular Services, for meeting representatives from the Nigerian High Commissioner’s Office, for featuring seminars, events and activities; for the Nigerian Association and his Ethnic Associations, to have a place for monthly and annual general meetings, and so on.
The population of Nigerians in British Columbia has continued to grow at a steady rate. Today, it is estimated that over 1000 Nigerians live in BC (though not all attend meetings); this has had a great influence on the objectives and activities of the Association. Currently the purposes of the Association are:
The chronological order of its leadership of the Association to-date is:
(History composed with the help of Mr. Emmanuel Onukwulu and Mr. Adewale Adeyinka)