The former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has called on Nigerians in Diaspora to develop full interest in what happens in Nigeria, arguing that the task of developing Nigeria is for all Nigerians. Obi made the call while recently speaking at the Inaugural Investment Conference with the theme of “Investing in Nigeria from the Diaspora: Challenges and Opportunities”, organised by the Nigerian American Business Forum at Tampa, Florida, USA.
Obi, who took time to compare the economies of many countries – China, Indonesia, India, Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia and that of Nigeria – submitted with empirical examples, how the problem of Nigeria could be said to be that of “leadership failure,” over the years. He said that nothing those countries did was “rocket science”, but that they did not only set goals for themselves, but that their leaders and followers understood the goals and remained focused pursuing those goals. He emphasised the need for leaders to save and always realise that a country that does not save is not conscious of the future and may likely bequeath anarchy rather than hope.
Obi thanked the organisers for thinking about Nigeria, saying that he was satisfied, since “the very act of thinking about the rot in the country is a proof that Nigerians are becoming aware of the missing link in the development of the country. Once a people start re-orientating their consciousness towards developmental needs, their salvation could be said to be at sight.” Using the history of Indians and Jews as examples, he said it was the history of a people whose Diasporas never forgot homes.
Obi expressed optimism that a more organised Diaspora group as represented by NABF would assist in re-channeling the energy among them homewards for the development of Nigeria. His words: “Nigeria Diaspora remittances, now estimated at nearly $23 billion per annum, are second only to oil as source of national revenue. Incidentally, most of these remittances are informal and uncategorised. Yet we cannot discount its value and the good it can do to nation-building if properly leveraged. Nigeria, as it is, offers a huge demographic and consumer market.”
Earlier, NABF made presentations through many work groups, comprising Nigerians that have distinguished themselves in various fields.
The conference was attended by many Nigerians in the USA and from home, among them Sen. Ben Bruce, Sen. Ola Ogunbanjo, Sen. Mohammed Lafiagi, Berny Dorhmann, and Fela Durutoye, among others.
The President of NABF, Mr. Kenneth Olakunle Shobola, thanked all that contributed to the success of the conference and assured that all the recommendation and ideas thrown up would be carefully studied, analyses and followed up.