The Edo Diaspora “A Brand in Danger of Isolation and Possible Extinction”.
A Senior ranking currently serving Edo government official called me in London last month to highlight the brand the Edo diaspora have created for themselves in Edo State. The Official started by praising the good work Edo Connect is doing for the Edo Community, he said because of that he wants to tell me how the Government sees the Edo Diaspora and why. He started by informing me of the 2 groups of Edo Diasporans they know exist:
Group A: The Edos that have travelled abroad and made outstanding successes of themselves and do not even look back to what is happening in Edo state.
Group B: The Edos that are having a tough time abroad and want to continue blaming their abroad woes on the Edo State Government.
He explained that, Edos in the diaspora have done nothing for Edo State’s development to warrant their voices being heard in important places. Have they tarred a road, built a free hospital, school or anything to benefit the average Edo state citizen? All they are interested in is personal gain. He further went on to say that over the last 30 years, the diaspora, they have not been able to maintain, develop and pass on the rich Edo culture they have being given to their younger generations. They do not have a community centre or anything of note in the diaspora for Edos to identify with. The Edo diaspora have cheated their Culture, Children and grandchildren with their blunt selfishness. They have traded the future identity of their Edo Children and grandchildren for personal big houses in Edo state and all they do now is go on free platforms to abuse the government of Edo State. When the Edo diaspora have addressed their problems correctly we will start looking at them but for now they are working in Isolation with their personal agendas. They are people who escaped Nigerian hardship and that’s all, we are working with it and through it.
I felt bad but most of his assessment is correct. Most of his assessment is reminiscent of the statement from the Iyase of Benin who said the Edo diaspora are not united, they chase personal glory only. Most recently, this week’s response from the Ijaws on Gelegele definitely proves the Edo diaspora is not on the same page as the Edo State Government.
With a brief overview of the Edo Diaspora’s contribution to Edo State over the last 30 years and one can see how the Edo Diaspora’s formula has been exposed. In the 30-year period that has seen millions of Edos relocate to the Diaspora for greener pastures, the Edo diaspora have built approximately 80% of all new houses, 4 flats, 6 flats and businesses all over Edo state for themselves. They have also sent western union for family up keep, all personal. As a result the influence they wield in Edo state is also personal, it ends in their household and businesses. It is zero to the state but they are always screaming at the State.
Over the same 30 years period not even 2% of them- the Edo diaspora have been able to relocate from abroad and come home to live in their big houses in Edo State . They have not been able to come and live in their big houses and they do not ask why? Most of their Children are not interested because they do not understand their own culture. Is it the Edo state’s government’s responsibility to come and teach your children their culture and identity?
You cannot plant groundnut and want to harvest apples. The Edo diaspora has to work out how they will develop their immediate community and their state and not their pockets. And that is the challenge they do not want to face, rather they are attacking Edo State.
The Irony is that the Edo Diaspora are still applying the same failed formula and want a different result. I can confirm that my generation have started the same dead-end trick that will only lead to more empty houses in Edo State. Until the diaspora learn how to give, work together to build their community and not their pockets, they will continue failing the wider Edo community. Edo state is tired of your empty buildings that do not add value to Edo State’s development.
No issue from Edo State has motivated the Edo diaspora to give to their community. Not the Libya returnees, The Gelegele discord, The Italian debacle years ago or anything I can mention. If there is no personal gain it appears Edos in the Diaspora are not interested.
It is not too late to harmonise, work together and develop our Edo community wherever we are. Not picking that option will drive us into isolation at home and abroad. We are probably feeling the effects now. Time for change. Time to embrace our community or risk complete isolation.
I Edos in the United Kingdom and USA are the primary culprits. My hope is that they understand their position and responsibilities now as their ultimate formula has not only been exposed but it has failed woefully on all sides of the atlantic, including their household.