“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”, stated the American author Stephen Covey. In our case, our main thing is “fixing Nigeria” so let’s keep it the main thing.
In my experience the apocalyptic statement “Nigeria is finished” is made in most cases by Nigerians who want to contribute to Nigeria but are frustrated by not being able to. They have tried again and again. Expertise, financial and investment contributions into Nigeria from the Nigerian diaspora are being locked out of the equation of fixing Nigeria. Whose responsibility is this? Blame lies with the Nigerian Embassies and the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM.
If you are a Nigerian in diaspora, these two government functionaries listed above will have you believe the problems of Nigerians in diaspora are passport, immigration matters and the occasional arrangement of evacuation flights. What nonsense. The centre of their functions is ensuring they support the Nigerian diaspora who are interested in contributing to the development of Nigeria. These two functionaries have failed to deliver any form of acknowledgement or confidence to their subjects. Put it simply, they are not bothered, it seems having an office in Abuja is what this is about.
Many in diaspora are asking now, how has NIDCOM and The Nigerian embassies delivered on their functions of helping the diaspora contribute to fixing Nigeria? The people are willing, so how hard could it be. What is needed? Have they reached out to them? How? What are you doing to attract these people and their investments? What do they want to do? Where are they struggling? Do they know the Nigerian diaspora communities? What is their relationship with the Nigerian Diaspora communities? Where are they now with these communities? There are a gazillion questions. NIDCOM and Nigerian embassies overseas have no performance indicators. The recent Covid 19 support co-ordination from NIDCOM will clearly demonstrate a misdirection of priorities, ask them which diaspora communities took part in that exercise. This is just an example.
The culture of the “old boys’ network” is not 100% to blame here. Rather it is the lack-of-know how of the functions that is becoming glaringly obvious. They are letting the Nigerian people down. NIDCOM does not have a relationship with the Nigerian diaspora communities. If there is one, it is a very weak and must be strengthened as a matter of urgency.
Recently in Nigeria, it would be unfair to criticise many states for not improving. From Edo to Delta, Sokoto, Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt and many more, the Governors are trying, they’re changing the narrative. But you notice each time the states move forward its hardly noticed because they unravel bigger and deeper problems, bigger than the one they just solved and in most cases of more immediate attention. Whether its security, unemployment, electricity, transportation, education, erosion etc there are always bigger problems. The efforts of the Governors amount to a drop in the ocean because the majority of the populace are still hungry, unemployed and unsafe so it’s hard to gauge any improvements.
Nigerians in the diaspora recognise the problems in Nigeria is bigger than just the government and want to help. They are under productive today due to a lack of engagement by NIDCOM and Nigerian embassies abroad. Without exploring the Nigerian diaspora options properly, the problems in Nigeria will continue running deeper. How hard can it be when the subjects are willing? It’s time for President Buhari and the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to act so we can all focus on the main thing, “fixing Nigeria”.