Nigerian Think Tank Group United Kingdom (NTTG UK) hosted the Nigerian Diaspora Day in London on the 25th July 2016 simultaneously as it was celebrated in Abuja. The event took place at The Clubhouse next to Chatham House.
The event kicked off with an open discussion session where the generality of Diasporans agreed on three key points: That the Diasporans need to organise; Have channel for access into Nigeria’s socio-economic and political fabric and; Policies should be made favourable to encourage Diasporans to participate in national development.
Mrs Olufolake Abdulrazaq, Minister / Head of Section represented and delivered The Acting High Commissioner’ address which centred on how the Diaporans should work closely with the High Commission to showcase achievements in the community as this will enhance visibility of such.
Extracts from the goodwill message from Presidency by Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa are as follows:
“I bring you greetings from President Muhammadu Buhari. He is very happy at this initiative. In fact, what you have done is quite commendable and recommended for other Nigerian Diaspora groups to emulate in other countries subsequently.”
“You Nigerians in the Diaspora can and in many cases, in fact play an important role in her economic development beyond sending remittances. You can promote trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), create businesses or encourage entrepreneurship and transfer of knowledge and skills. As such this administration no longer see you as a loss to the country but now as an asset to be tapped into.”
“May I reiterate that this administration is keen to ensure that you in the Diaspora should be considered not just as sources of financing, but as development partners.”
“Yes, there are still a lot of challenges but we are working to smoothening these barriers / obstacles to ensure that there is an enabling environment for you in the Diaspora, to fully participate in the redevelopment of Nigeria both economically and politically. You are our priced assets.”
The Special Guest for the day, Dr Timi Austen Peters – Chairman, Dorman Long Engineering emboldens the audience with references of his own integration from Diaspora back into Nigeria.
He went on to encourage Diasporans to collaborate with not just the public sector but seek to partner with private sector on investments and skills exchange programmes. Concluding that there is no room for fear in order to succeed.
NTTG UK closed the day as thus “as a think tank, we have evaluated the way things have been done over the years whereby the diasporans have always focused on appointments or contracts. It is high time we change the product and change the market strategy. That is why we are here today.”
The event shows that we in the diaspora can move from having potentials into active participation in national development.
We at NTTG UK look forward to a more globalised event as a way forward.
Director of Special Duties
For NTTG UK
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