By: Abayomi Adeshida
Nigerians in the diaspora have been charged to stop mere criticism of policies initiated by successive administrations and show more interest in what is happening at home through constructive contributions that would point the government in the right direction and reduce the sufferings of the ordinary Nigerians.
The facilitator, Nigeria Diaspora Network, Mr Funmi Omosule who gave the charge during a telephone interview from his base in Maryland, United States of America further maintained that
Nigerians in the Diaspora were expected to bring their global experience to bear and engage in the development of their fatherland in the critical areas of shaping government policies and core infrastructural development in the country.
He, however, regretted that “Unfortunately, majority of Nigerians in the Diaspora are too far from the workings of the government back home. “This has to change because Nigerians in the Diaspora, if well organised and effectively coordinated can change the game at home”, he insisted.
He said: “Since 2008, I have been interacting with Nigerians in the Diaspora across the world and one major take is the issue of incompetent mediocre running the show and dominating the political landscape at home. “I did my best persuading professionals in the Diaspora to come and assist the governments of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan between 2000 and 2015 but the majority of them were of the opinion that there are too many dirty political leaders betraying public trusts and Nigerian masses are asleep and not demanding accountability from the leaders as obtainable in their respective countries of residence.
“I share some of the sentiments but I insist that efforts must start to assemble some cautiously optimistic Nigerian professionals in the Diaspora to form a formidable coalition and approach President Muhammadu Buhari through the Nigeria Diaspora Commission to start laying a solid foundation for the engagement of Nigerians in the Diaspora to assist in the development of Nigeria. They can put their professional experience, competence and knowledge of international best practices into use at home.
“Fortunately, President Muhammadu Buhari recently threw an open invitation to Nigerian professionals abroad to come and work with the administration to develop Nigeria. The time is ripe now.”.
Omosule said the professionals that would be gathered under the current attempt by The Nigeria Diaspora Network to contribute to nation-building would be committed to coming up with a Corporate Governance Code to run Nigeria as a smart economy.
He said: “I am personally involved in facilitating locally to see a seamless penetration into the system and the country will benefit massively from such a beautiful initiative.
“The plan is being worked out anyway and I am very optimistic it will work out pretty well.”
He said he is convinced that every leader, and indeed President Buhari is passionate about developing Nigeria and promoting private sector participation in the visible development of the country in every area.
He said: “Mr President already threw an open invitation to Nigerians in the Diaspora to come and assist his administration. The Nigeria Diaspora Network already received the presidential invitation to come and assist the government, so it is now in the court of Nigeria Diaspora Network to select the best of cautiously optimistic Nigerian professionals in Diaspora worldwide to work out a very robust collaboration with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to transform Nigeria to a Smart Economy.”
Heeding the president’s call, the International Coordinator of Nigeria Diaspora Network, Engineer Samuel Atolaiye, recently said the group was already reaching out to Nigerian professionals in all countries of the world to bring them together to work with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to change the game.
In what appeared like his support for the call for restructuring of the polity, Omosule maintained that if more powers are given to the Local Authorities,
Nigerians abroad can undertake many developmental projects without the bureaucratic bottlenecks created by the government.
He believes that the over-concentration of power at the centre in the present structure in the country means that one will need the approval of the government in Abuja to get things done in local areas.
In his words, “One of the reasons it is difficult for many Nigerians in the Diaspora to set up in Nigeria is the fact that you need Abuja mostly for official paperwork and approvals for big-time setups unlike if we have a decentralised system where you only need local authorities to get things done within the locality of the site of whatever projects to be set up.”
“By continuing to give ease of doing business the priority it deserves, I hope that the federal government will ultimately make it easier for Nigerians in the Diaspora to come home and start projects,” he stated.
Omosule observed that one critical impediment to the zeal expressed by many Nigerians abroad to return home for meaningful contributions is the issue of trust and inconsistency of government policies at home.