Jonathan urges Nigerians in diaspora to be agents of national development
President Goodluck Jonathan has called on Nigerians in diaspora to become agents of development and proponents of the nation’s economic emancipation and unity.
Represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the ongoing 6th National Diaspora Day and Conference with the theme, “Diaspora Nigerians: Agents of investment and development” in Abuja yesterday, President Jonathan noted that the aim is to mobilize and organize all Nigerians in the Diaspora, coherently and purposely, toward enhancing their participation and galvanizing their effective contributions in the actualization of national development goals.
“Today, Nigerians in Diaspora must be agents of change and development and proponents of our economic emancipation and unity. Your wealth of experience, when effectively harnessed, will go a long way in moving us to our desired and deserving position. There are so much more happenings in today's Nigeria, and I urge you to make the best use of your time here”.
President Jonathan stressed that his administration recognizes that Nigerians in the Diaspora are a vital and indispensable resource in it’s efforts at national regeneration. “We are therefore determined to strengthen our productive partnership with you. I must however, emphasize that the success of this partnership is contingent on the active participation, goodwill, dedication, unity of purpose, and coordinated resolve of all stakeholders.
“As a concrete step towards achieving our objectives, this year's Diaspora Conference, should be greatly focused and result-oriented. The success of countries such as India, China, Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines, which have strategically engendered the Diaspora as a mechanism to accelerate national development, are excellent models for us to understudy.
“The Indian experience in particular, has shown that Diaspora communities are important sources of Foreign Direct Investments, trade linkages and knowledge and technology transfer.
“Having lived abroad and embraced International Best Practices, Nigerians in Diaspora possess the requisite experience, expertise and contacts to contribute to all facet of our national life. This organization should now constitute a viable and proactive platform for marshalling Nigerians abroad to transfer their competences and technical skills as a means of strengthening our technological base and in furtherance of profitable investments, which will in turn create jobs here.
“To undertake this progressive role, we must together re-strategize our approach towards greater cooperation and stronger partnership. Nigerians in Diaspora must now respond positively to the invitation to come home and contribute to the development of this nation. This is not an invitation to walk the red carpet. It is rather an invitation to join in the arduous task of putting this country on a sustainable path of progress, where all of us will realize the dreams we seek across borders.
“As daunting as this objective may seem, the various reforms and programmes being implemented under our Transformation Agenda are optimizing Nigeria's yet untapped huge potentials into developmental realities. We are creating an enabling environment to attract both foreign and local investors into the country”, he said.
President Jonathan further urged the Nigerians in Diaspora to take advantage of the opportunity to be part of the Centenary City, one of the enduring legacies of the Centenary Celebrations to be built ob 1,000 hectares virgin land in Abuja.
“The Centenary City, an expansive state-of-the-art private sector-driven trade and investment theme complex, is part of this initiative. Nigerians in the Diaspora can come together, build and own their own Diaspora village within, which can include event centers hosting future Diaspora conferences, and indeed showcasing other initiatives.
“The task of taking Nigeria to the pinnacle of development comparable to the major industrialized nations is a task for us all, not least Nigerians in Diaspora. There is no better time than now, there has been no better opportunity than as currently presented, for you to become a part of our collective efforts in building a better future for present and future generations of Nigerians”.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, called on the Nigerians in Diaspora to take advantage of the investment opportunities the centenary city offers own profitable businesses in Abuja.
“Let me particularly challenge the medical professional among you, who are doing excellently well over the world, to take up the hospital project in the city. Nigerians travel all over the wors in large numbers and spend huge mount of money on medical tourism every year. With our large population you can be reat assured that any investment in a Worls class medical facility in Abuja will bring returns in less than no time.
“The Nigerians in Diaspora Centre should be one of the iconic structure in the city. I enjoin you to take up the challenge to drive the building of Diaspira centre so that you concept and ideas can be accurately incorporated in the Center”, adding that the ground breaking ceremony will be done in October.
Also in her remarks, the Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also challenge the Nigerians in Diaspora to stop the infighting among their various associations as well as Internet criticism and be part of the change they want to see in the country.
“Let’s channel our energy to make Nigeria truly a great country it is. There is a Yoruba adage that says the river cannot cut itself from it’s source, this is your source, your country, you cannot cut yourself off.
“After this conference, we do not want another talkshop, we want to showcase what we have achieve in the next Diaspora Day Celebration”.