FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed has called on Nigerians in Diaspora to curtail their unbridled vilification of their country of origin and its government and be patriotic by concentrating more on proffering practical solutions. The Minister who spoke at the closing session of the 2014 summit of the Nigerian Diaspora Organization (NIDO), America held at the Embassy Hotels and Suites, Columbus Ohio, exhorted the Diasporans to brace the harsh realities and return home to drive the train of transformation and development of Nigeria. Senator Mohammed was represented at the event by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Engr. John Chukwu.
The Minister urged them to think more about what they could contribute to the development of their native country Nigeria and less about what they could get from it. He stressed that demonization of Nigeria, its government and people by the Nigerian Diaspora rather than solve would worsen the problems facing Nigeria such as terrorism and kidnapping.
Senator Mohammed added that the time is now for the Nigerian Diaspora to act fast to assist in finding solution to the challenges confronting the nation. According to him, no other group is better positioned than the Diasporans to lead the way in bailing Nigeria from the vice grip of corruption, indiscipline and tribalism.
NIDO America Board of Directors Chairman, Chief Gabe Okoye in his address said that the average of about $21.5billion was remitted to Nigeria in the past two years by Nigerians in Diaspora, a contribution only surpassed by oil revenue.
Okoye said that one thing which the NIDO members are expecting with bated anxiety is the creation of the Diaspora Commission by the Federal Government to act as a medium for seamless interface between Nigerians in the Diaspora and their native land. In other words it is expected to serve as the vehicle through which the Nigeria Diaspora Community could channel their vast resources to Nigeria for the development of the country, the NIDO leader contended.
Chief Okoye likened the creation of the commission to former President John Kennedy’s call for Americans to ask for what they can do for their country, not what their country can do for them. With the resolution passed by this year’s National Conference recommending the creation of the commission, Okoye and other NIDO members are upbeat that their dogged push for its birth is beginning to yield the expected result.
“We must use the opportunity availed to us by this conference to plant in the ears of all our guests, especially those from the homeland that, we unapologetically insist on the implementation of the resolutions of the National Conference,” Okoye added. In his opinion, the resolutions are commonsensical, relevant and equitable.
Also speaking, Professor Kelechi Kalu, Vice Provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs, Ohio State University, whose lecture was titled “Safety and Security and Nigerian Transformation Agenda,” said Nigeria has done well in terms of conceptualizing what we should be but the problem has to do with actualizing what we should be.