April 20, 2010

NIDO infrastructure conference in US takes stock of Nigeria at 50

At the just concluded  infrastructure conference with theme  Financing Infrastructure for Sustainable Development in Nigeria held in  New Jersey , United States of America, participants challenged Nigerians to take stock of the country 50 years of her independent.

The capacity building event  organized by the Nigeria Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) New Jersey chapter and under the coordinators-ship of Mr. Adedayo Sanusi, dignitaries from Nigeria included  the Chairman House Committee on the Diaspora, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa and her deputy Alhaji Aminu Shagari, Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, and former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke.

Also at the occasion was the chairman congressional black caucus, an organization representing the black members of the United States Congress, Barbara Lee.

“In this year 2010, Nigeria will be celebrating fifty years of independence. Ideally, this anniversary should signify a period of economic growth and prosperity.

“Let us attain the level of respect we deserve as a nation considering the amount of resources in our control that are coveted by other nations around the world.” Sanusi said in his welcome speech adding that this is the compelling argument for need of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

He envisioned that concerted effort can revolutionaries Nigeria and create a legacy that will extend far beyond its borders and influence the global community.

His speech energized the atmosphere and set the table rolling for the momentous summit but before his address was a letter from the governor of New Jersey , Chris Christie who acknowledged that the Nigerian community contributes significantly to the state’s prosperity and vibrant cultural diversity.

“This conference offers an excellent opportunity for the Nigerian community to come together and discuss issues of importance” he said.

Solidarity messages came from the Mayor of Newark, Mr. Cory A. Booker, the President of Newark Municipal Council, Mildred C. Crump and the Mayor, Township of  Irvington , Wayne Smith.

Smith said the township is home to 65,000 residents who consider Nigeria their birth place and who “provide a rich enhancement to our townships and have increased the opportunities for business and home ownership.”

In his speech at the occasion, the governor of Kano state, Shekarau decided to dwell on the area he knows best being an educationist, he blamed the poor performance of students back home in Nigeria in the recently concluded 2010 National Examinations Council (NECO) and West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations to the disregard to education by past governments in the country.

The governor said the condition was very pathetic since it touched on the future of the country. “Most of the current leaders attended public schools, which have now been left to degenerate.” He said.

“The problem now is, if you neglect education for too long, usually it takes you three times or five times longer to rectify. Tell those that need to hear, to give our children better education, as this is the future of Nigeria ,” he said.

Shekarau also urged Nigerians in the United States to be part of the struggle to make Nigeria a better place. According to him, a  poor man in Calabar is a poor man in Kano , and a poor person in Mushin is a poor person in Maiduguri .

Nothing new but “miscreants” emerge as leaders because good people stay out of so-called “dirty politics”.
Shekarau stated that participation comes in diverse forms: financial support, enlightening people at home as we pass on Western Union numbers, speaking up, protesting evil deeds, etc.

According to the website,, the evening was rounded off with a cocktail hour of finger foods sponsored by Kano State and video presentations by Eko Atlantic, Arik Air, and showcasing of ICT Park , Kano by Kano State Commissioner for Science and Technology ,Hon. Bashir Shehu Galadanchi. The Convention looked promising with a long line of speakers for Saturday sessions, including Chief Ken Iwelumo, Alibo of Onicha Ugbo and VP at Merrill Lynch, Chamberlin Peterside and Professor Janet Ande of the University of Jos .

On Saturday, former governor of Cross River State , Donald Duke spoke during the session on “Infrastructure-Investment Opportunities”.

He played the video accompanying his book, “The Duke Years”; the video that showcases what is possible when politicians focus on delivering dividends of democracy.