- Politician, Administrator, Campaign Manager, Community Activist, Speaker
Sylvester Okere, D.D, happily married and blessed with three treasured children, migrated with his wife and daughter to the United States in 1999 through the US Diversity Visa Lottery and became an American citizen in 2004. He is the Founder and President, Maryland Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, and Sr. Principal at Strategic Groups LLC and a Certified Institutional Protection Manager CIPM l & ll. He recently served as the Director ‘Operation Vote Africa’ with the OFA-MD in Obama 2012 election.
Dr. Okere is the founder & CEO of Watchman Protective Services, Inc. (A certified Private Security & Private Detective firm with head office in Maryland), had created employment to over 300 citizens in the Washington DC metro region. He is also a member of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), American Security Council, and American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), World Association of Detectives, and International Foundation for Counterterrorism Security Professionals IACFP, and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners ACFE
A seasoned politician, Dr. Okere is chairman Maryland-Nigeria Sister State Executive Committee, and first African on Advisory Board of Directors of Maryland Sister State Program. Overseeing an array of international business relationship. Dr. Okere, along with Maryland secretary of state “Mr. John P. McDonough” led a successful trade mission to Nigeria in November 2012. Dr. Okere was very instrumental in forging the Maryland Sister State relationship with Nigeria states (Ondo and Cross River). In January 2013, Dr. Okere received his Doctor of Divinity (DD) and Doctor of Philosophy (Humane Letters-Honoris Causa)
Dr. Sylvester Okere is the Executive Director of Continental African Leadership Council. Dr. Okere spearheaded Continental Africans for Obama (an arm that organized, mobilized and galvanized African voters to reelect President Obama).
Dr. Sylvester Okere is first African immigrant to speak on a national platform; joined a roster of speakers August 24th, 2013 at the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March in Washington and spoke on behalf of the African immigrant community in the United States. In his speech, he stressed the importance of fixing America’s broken immigration system along with other speakers including Martin Luther King Jr. III, Civil Rights Activists Al Sharpton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. John Lewis.
Dr. Okere is the first African immigrant in Maryland elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) 2012 where he served as Maryland’s field delegate. He is first African immigrant on Maryland Democratic Party Executive Committee. He served on President Obama’s National Finance Committee/Obama Victory Trustee (the phenomenal fundraising machinery for Obama 2012 presidential campaign). He played an active role in the 2012 Obama re-election campaign. Starting in 2010, he assisted with fundraising efforts with strong community mobilization to re-elect Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. He organized receptions, house parties, community and faith based events; provided grassroots outreaches, GOTV mechanism, phone banking, door to door knocking, and field campaign strategies. He has assisted the Democratic Party (state and national) with outreach efforts to the African Constituencies. He has membership with national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Mid- Atlantic Finance Committee, and he is alumni of Obama University.
Dr. Okere is a member of reader committee 2014-2015: Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (by IREX) - The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI) is the new flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. 2014 summer, the Washington Fellowship will bring 500 young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and will create unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries. As a reader committee member I am responsible for evaluating program applicants based on set guidelines for the Washington Fellowship.
Dr. Okere led the team of Sub Saharan Africa advocacy group to the Capitol Hill building meeting face to face with various members of the US Congress/House of Representatives, and the US Senate on behalf of the African constituent demanding fair & comprehensive immigration reform.
Dr. Okere participated on President Obama’s Power Africa dialogue at the African Union Permanent Mission to the United Nations, September 4, 2013 where he made an eloquent speech.
Dr. Okere is strategic partner with numerous national and global organizations (NGOs), such as Community without Boundaries International, Inc. (an international NGO that organized the August 24, 2013 National March on Washington, The 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. legacy, in alliance with Martin Luther King, Jr lll, Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network. Etc.
Dr. Okere along with Nigerian Ambassador to the United States criticized and demanded an apology from US Senator Ted Cruz over his negative remarks on Nigerians. He has been recently appointed the Diaspora Mobilizer on Ethics and Values in business by the Presidency Office of the Special Adviser to the President of Nigeria on Ethics and Values.
Dr. Okere Organized and spearheaded: “Doing Business in Africa: Nigeria’s Ethics & Values,” at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations –at the Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill on May 1, 2013. An elevated medium for showcasing Nigeria’s commitment to progressive countenance on propelling the adoption of national ethics and values in the global marketplace, with Dr. Sarah Jibril Special Adviser to Nigeria’s President.
Dr. Okere’ s notable accomplishments include recognition from the Governor of Maryland (Office of Minority Affairs), a 2013 African Heritage Month Community Economic Empowerment Award from Montgomery County Executive. He holds a Goodwill Ambassadorial position with CICA International; a non-governmental organization with United Nations Consultative Status, a 2010 national award from the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Office of Diaspora Affairs), is listed among the “Top 100 Diversity Owned Businesses” in Maryland. He is a licensed chaplain with Word of Life Ministries International.
Dr. Okere served 15 years in the Nigeria immigration department Kano state command, he is former special aide to Alhaji Yakubu Dogara (rtd) Assistant Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration under the administration of Alhaji Garba Abbas former Comptroller General of Nigeria immigration.
Dr. Okere has been interviewed on VOA to talk on President Goodluck Jonathan’s initiative “The National Conference” also on the perspective of Political re alignment in Nigeria. Dr. Okere prides with having strong high level political, business, community and faith leaders in the United States and Africa. Dr. Okere has appeared on several media/shows representing the Continental African Community in Diaspora USA such as Swedish TV, South African Sunday Times, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), CNN, MSNBC, Comcast/Global Culture TV Network, City of Laurel Cable Network, Voice of America TV, GCTV, Eminent Leaders Magazine, This Day, Punch, Trumpeter, the Nigeria Voice, street hypes newspaper, little Ethiopia newspaper, Imo State Government News/Blog and African Ovation.
Dr. Okere has been selflessly engaged with several organizations and Caucuses. Dr. Okere has a distinguished career as a businessman, community leader and political advocate in the United States and Africa. He most recently serves on the steering committee of the forth-coming AGOA Trade and Commerce Fact-Finding Workshop, and he is currently partnering with UNESCO International Center for Peace and the African Cultural Center New York on the proposed African Trade Expo 2015.