In our effort to give voices to passionate Nigerians who has something important to share with the world or their fellow Nigerians and it's government, we are publishing this article written by Pastor Mfon Udoema on how Nigerians in diaspora can contribute to the development of Nigeria. You too can submit your own article!
Nigeria can and will be better. I walked past a beer parlor recently and I saw a group of young men discussing about Nigeria, so I picked interest. They said that Nigeria will never be better than it is and that nothing will change in Nigeria. I refuse to subscribe to their postulation or prediction because I know that Nigeria can and will be better.
In putting it so simply, Nigerians in the Diaspora are Nigerians living outside Nigeria. A lot of people have abused such people for 'running' away from the challenges in Nigeria instead of staying back to build Nigeria. The government on the other hand is complaining of brain drain and calling on Nigerians in the Diaspora to return. I use to share the same opinion that people outside should return but now I know and understand better. They don't necessarily need to return to build Nigeria, they can do a great deal of work where they are.
Nigerians in the Diaspora have a critical role to play in the building of a better Nigeria.
I will share two important reasons among many why we need the Diaspora in building a better Nigeria.
1. The Diaspora And The Economy
According to World Bank, Nigerians in the Diaspora contribute more to the nation's economy than 34 of the 36 states in Nigeria. The World Bank Report shows that a total of $21b was remitted to Nigeria in 2012 and 2013 and between the year 2011 to June 2014, Nigerians in the Diaspora remitted about $63.17b which is the equivalent of #10.35tr, and these are official remittances through the bank, which means the figures could be much higher. The World Bank Report of the GDP of Nigeria for the year 2013 stated that Lagos State contributed $33.67b and Rivers State $21.07b to the GDP. Rivers State figure is just slightly higher than the what the Diaspora remitted.
According to Sun Newspaper of Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, the Chairman of the Diaspora Nigerians Network(DNN), Prof. Edward Oparaoji, posited that Nigerians in the Diaspora have projected that they could remit over $100b a year by 2015, if the right policies and environment are put in place to fully harness the Diaspora potentials.
Let us imagine Nigeria raking in $100b annually from the Diaspora, A lot will be achieved in the areas of Education, Health care, Social Welfare, Housing, Community development, etc.
The same World Bank according to its 2013 report placed the GDP of Nigeria at $521.80b, Republic of South Africa($366.05b), Swaziland($3.79b), Togo($4.33b), Liberia($1.95b) and Ghana($48.14b), among others.
Therefore, if Nigeria can receive $100b from the Diaspora annually, that amount will be almost 100times the economy or GDP of Liberia; about 30times that of Swaziland and almost 25times that of Togo, among others. If the Nigerian economy as at 2013 was $521.80b, if the Diaspora can remit $100b, that alone will form one-fifth of the Nigerian economy.
2. Exploits Of Nigerians In The Diaspora
Another reason why the Diaspora play a critical role in building a better Nigeria is because of the exploits OF Nigerians abroad. It is true that some Nigerians have given Nigeria a bad image abroad for their involvement in fraudulent and criminal activities abroad, a typical example is the case of the Nigerians that were recently sentenced to death for drug related offences. However, a lot of Nigerians are doing well and making Nigeria proud.
A few of such people are: Kate Osamor, Chi Onwurah, Helen Grant and Chuka Umunna, that were recently elected or re-elected as the case may be into the British Parliament. Pastor John Abraham Godson is a serving member of the Polish parliament. We equally have Councillor Kate Anolue, Prof. Ilesanmi Adesida, Collins Nweke, Olufemi Obe, Victor Olisa, Francisca Chiedu, Emmanuel Ohuabunwa, etc.
A lot of Nigerians in the Diaspora are excelling in Politics, Education, Medicine, Law, Security, Science, Sports, Entertainment, etc. The government should create a platform where these Nigerians can contribute their expertise towards the building of a better Nigeria.
How To Engage The Diasporas
Nigeria as a nation has done a few things to engage the Diaspora. In 2005, the President Obasanjo/Atiku led government instituted the Nigeria Diaspora Day and also a House Committee on Diaspora was established. There is currently no Senate Committee on Diaspora.
I suggest that the government should create "Ministry Of Diaspora Affairs" and appoint a capable hand like Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa, who at the time of writing is the Chairman House Committee on Diaspora. Just like the Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs was created by President Yaradua/Jonathan administration and nurtured by President Jonathan/Sambo administration.
Other countries have started paying good attention to the DIASPORA and are in return reaping great benefits. Somalia for instance have Ministry Of Diaspora Affairs And Community Affairs; Haiti has Ministry Of Haitians Living Abroad; India has Ministry For Oversea Indian Affairs, among others.
I see a better Nigeria!
I love Nigeria!
Pastor Mfon Udoema.