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Ignore challenges, contribute to Nigeria’s devt, Obasanjo urges Nigerians abroad

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged Nigerians in Diaspora to overcome the challenges in Nigeria and work collectively to contribute to national development. He made…

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged Nigerians in Diaspora to overcome the challenges in Nigeria and work collectively to contribute to national development.

He made the call on Thursday night in Abuja, in his goodwill message during the formal launch/presentation of the 198-page “Nigeria and her Diaspora: Human Capital and National Development” written by Dr. John C. George, the CEO of ROTEX Group of Companies.

According to Obasanjo, who presented his message via zoom, it is amazing how many Nigerians living in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, are highly valued members of parliament, mayors, councillors, medical consultants and innovators there.

“It is unfortunate that these extraordinary achievements seem to be observed far more often outside the shores of our nation.

“If our DNA as Nigerians does not change and while abroad, they even try to eat the same food as in Nigeria, it means that the factors hindering such achievements in Nigerians are basically here in Nigeria.

“It remains our collective duty to work tirelessly to eliminate those factors that constitute impediments to the empowerment of our growing population in Nigeria.

“The protests we have seen today on our streets are as a result of our poor investment in the empowerment of our youth who should possess the real capacity to be the powerhouse of our economy.

“Indeed, our human capital must become our priority, if we must accelerate our development in all sectors of our economy,” Obasanjo said.

He therefore challenged Nigerians in Diaspora to take a deeper look into investments that would engage the nation’s youth in Nigeria meaningfully.

He said, “You are exposed to smart technology, innovations, skills that can empower our youth. Many of you also have access to partnerships and programs that can build the capacity of our youth here in Nigeria.

He also noted that, “When I addressed Dr. John George and his colleagues who flew from different countries in Europe to listen to me in London in the year 2000, on the need to contribute to Nigeria’s development, I knew that Nigerians abroad love their country and will listen to me Today I was informed that NIDO has become the largest African Diaspora Organisation operating in many countries on four continents.

In her Keynote, the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said she agreed with the author of the book, Dr. John C. George, that the title of the book is not only apt but in tandem with the Act establishing the NiDCOM, particularly in turning the brain drain into brain gain and brain circulation which she said can be achieved.

Dabiri-Erewa, represented by the Secretary to the commission, Engr. Sule Yakubu, said that the importance of Nigerians in Diaspora as a driving force for economic development of Nigeria cannot be overstressed.

The author of the book, Dr. John C. George, said, “We regularly hear of awards given to Nigerians in different parts of the world for advancing their nations’ developmental goals.”

He wondered what robbed the nation of the smart policies that would tap into these capabilities, experiences and exposure to build Nigeria into one of the most desired nations worldwide.

On their parts, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, and a retired Nigerian diplomat, Ambassador Joseph Chiedu Keshi among others, urged Nigerians in diaspora to think more of their fatherland so that the country can be among the top leading nations in the world.