NIGERIAN CITIZENS FIRST
ENCOURAGING THE POLICY OF RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL
The Nigerian Diaspora would attract more than an ephemeral attention on this subject, for obvious reasons of resources, exposure, ability and capability to assist in growing the nations economy. The thought of the circumstances leading to the ‘’exodus’’ of our sisters and brothers abroad could be very painful. Yes, they have the right to be angry; just like all other well meaning Nigerians. However, we must realize that annoyance and apathy would never provide the solutions that would build a greater Nigeria for the benefit of all.
The ‘’exodus’’ of highly skilled Nigerian professionals commenced in the mid-1980s when they started receiving mouth-watering offers of engagement from foreign nations in need of experts in diverse fields particularly the health sector. Millions of Nigerians emigrated from Nigeria to other parts of the world. It is estimated that about 15 million Nigerians currently live outside the country. Information available on NigerianDiaspora.com indicates that ‘’The Nigerian Diaspora covers practically every part of the world, but the largest populations of Nigerians can be found in the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa. In Europe, London’s Peckham is called “Little Lagos” because of the population of Nigerians residing there; and in the United States, Houston, Texas, has the largest population of Nigerians in the country.
One common inclination is that many Nigerian citizens abroad are angry at their country for allegedly ‘’forcing them into exile’’ as a result of economic hardships. Nobody can blame them for maintaining this posture. However, it would seem appropriate for all Nigerians to collaborate in solving common problems. It would take such factors as patriotism, dedication and commitment to the agenda of nation building to get things right. It is important for all to overlook the pains of the past and look to the future with great optimism. We require creative thinking and great workable ideas.
The Nigerian Diaspora is making its mark all over the world as some of the best professionals in various fields. Nigerians are all over the world with intimidating credentials dominating their environment. Even students of Nigerian origin are demonstrating the prowess of Nigerians by taking the lead in Ivy League educational institutions.
From abroad, Nigerians could contribute to the process of change through indirect involvement in governance. With experiences of Western societies and the education acquired in the advanced world, our brothers and sisters could impact development and influence conduct of government business by public enlightenment. As influential people in their communities in Nigeria, Nigerians in the Diaspora could influence a lot of things including thee choices of elected representatives in governments. Voices of prominent people could influence others as breadwinners and competent opinion leaders. Apathy would never yield any dividends. Mobilizing people for development is one issue that could help democracy and the rule of law. If possible, participate directly by offering yourselves for selfless service in Nigeria.
NIGERIAN CITIZENS FIRST
ENCOURAGING THE POLICY OF NIGERIANS FIRST
In the First World, the best is reserved for their citizens. It is only after their citizens are provided for that governments throw open opportunities to foreigners. You hardly could find citizens of other countries in paid employment where qualified citizens of advance nations are available. Additionally, government may wish to give consideration to Nigerian businesses at home and abroad That means Nigerians may be considered for any beneficial project, jobs or contracts first, before throwing the doors open to foreigners.
It is only when Nigerians are considered incapable of delivering on assignments that foreigners may be considered for the diverse opportunities available. And I feel sure that our brothers and sisters abroad will deliver. Foreign companies have the right to be here. But we could reach out to Nigerians in the Diaspora to find out those who are truly interested in participating in the development of the national economy.
Sometimes, quiet unconventional steps may produce conventional results. For instance, cultivating people like the Ogunlesis, whose company owns and manages three strategic international airports in the United Kingdom might be beneficial to the nation and could produce another batch of Dangotes, Elumelus, Jim Ovias, Alakijas, Otedolas and young entrepreneurs that took the economy by storm within two decades.
The issues confronting Nigeria could best be addressed through participation of the citizenry, particularly the best in the governance of the country. It is time for total commitment and dedication to the cause of putting Nigeria on higher grounds. It is time to seek peace, stability, unity, progress and the attainment of our common objectives. This is one of the purposes of creating this unique outfit – to make Nigerians abroad contribute constructively and patriotically to national development.
Contributions of the Diaspora to development is huge; as Nigerians abroad constitute key stakeholders in the Nigeria project with remittances averaging about $3 billion per annum for the past seven years. All that is necessary for such progress and development to be recorded would be the will on the part of diasporic Nigerians who could be assessed to determine their competence and suitability.
The fact that seven Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom are originally Nigerians speaks eloquently about the ability of Nigerians to ride on storms. Seven Nigerians are reported to have been elected into the United Kingdom’s (UK) parliament. And for them to have made it to that level is also a recognition of their personal worth, and, even more than that, their spectacular contributions to the well-being of the community they choose to call their home, at least for now. Perhaps good policies and divine intervention would bring them back permanently before too long.