History of NICOT

‘The Council’ at the beginning, was the driving force behind the creation of the organisation. 

16 Years in Action

Some of the Founding Members

The idea to establish NICOT (Nigerian Community on Teesside) was conceived by Dr Abayomi Opaneye, who was passionate about promoting Nigerian culture and values. He believed that by sharing his culture with others, he could help to promote greater understanding and appreciation of Nigerian people and their heritage. With this vision in mind, Dr Opaneye worked tirelessly to bring together a group of like-minded Nigerians to form NICOT. This group, referred to as ‘The Council’ at the beginning, was the driving force behind the creation of the organisation. The first meeting took place on 21st July 2006 in Dr Opaneye’s house and the following were in attendance:

1. Dr. Abayomi Opaneye 

2. Dr. Tokunbo Sangowawa

3. Mrs Yemisi Opaneye

4. Mr. Sanya Adedapo

5. Mr. Wale Afolabi

The ‘Council’ developed and agreed the name, NICOT, and its initial objectives, operatives and processes. One major factor was that every Nigerian could be a member, irrespective of religion. Further meetings were held with more Nigerian expatriates in attendance. At its meeting on 21st January 2007, a NICOT Constitution was ratified and adopted and the first Executive Committee elected. The members were:

President: Dr. Abayomi Opaneye

Vice President: Dr. Tokunbo Sangowawa

General Secretary: Mrs Femi Ajekigbe

Treasurer: Mrs Yemisi Opaneye

Financial Secretary: Mrs Adenike Adeleye

Social Secretary: Mr Wale Afolabi

Welfare Officer: Mr Akinlolu Ladokun

Co-opted members: Mr Sunday Ochogwu

                                                    Mr Sanya Adedapo

The first NICOT Executive Committee meeting was held on 25th March 2007, while NICOT was officially inaugurated on 15th April 2007 at Marton Community Centre, Middlesbrough. 

In these early years, while Dr Opaneye served as the president of NICOT, he played a pivotal role in organising events and activities that promoted Nigerian culture and values in Tees Valley. He was known for his energy, passion, and dedication to the organisation and its mission. Under his leadership, NICOT grew in size and influence and became a recognised and respected organisation in the community. Unfortunately Dr Opaneye’s tenure as President ended in 2009 because of his relocation out of the area. 

On 11th June 2022, the name of the organisation was changed to Nigerian Community Tees Valley (NICOT) to recognise and include Nigerians living in Darlington. 

Today, Dr Opaneye’s legacy lives on in the work of NICOT. The organisation continues to promote Nigerian culture and values in Tees Valley and beyond and remains committed to the vision of its founding father. NICOT has evolved over the years and now hosts a wide range of cultural events and activities, including festivals, concerts, workshops, and educational programmes. Through its work, NICOT has helped to promote greater understanding and appreciation of Nigerian culture and values and has played an important role in fostering social cohesion and community integration in Tees Valley.


Some members of First Exco

Founding President

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