Nigerians in the Diaspora (NiDO) have been advised to change their negative perception about their country and return home to take the huge responsibility of building the Nigeria of their dream.
Gov Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, former Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra, former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim and Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs Abike dabiri-Erew among others threw the challenge at in Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
President of Nigerian-American Business Forum, (NABF), Mr Kenneth Shobola, in a statement on Wednesday, quoted them as giving the advice at the third Annual Conference of the NABF in Tampa, Florida.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the NABF is a group of accomplished and influential Nigerian professionals based in the U.S.
He quoted the speakers as underscoring the need for the Nigerians living abroad to come back home and invest to enhance the growth and economic development of the nation.
They said that every country was built by some people but usually the diaspora
Speaking, Gov. Makinde said his administration had changed the governance landscape in Oyo State and presented investment opportunities in agriculture, tourism, housing, education.
According to him, NiDO has major role to play if Nigeria must realise its development potential with many opportunities, especially in Oyo State.
He said, “We are inviting investors, we offer you land at unbeatable rates and if you get a better offer for the same value anywhere in Nigeria, we will best it.
“We are proud of our local and foreign investors, and we are determined to make life better for them, so we want you to be part of this novel investment.”
Makinde expressed concern on insecurity to be major challenge facing investments in Nigeria and explained that his administration had put measures on ground to tackle them, through establishment of “Amotekun” security outfit.
Speaking in the same vein, former Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra, urged Nigerians in the United States to translate their skills into developing Nigeria like the Jews, Indians and Chinese did.
“There are opportunities in Nigeria when it comes to investment, which is not anywhere in the world.
“Channel your investments back into the country; be part of the change at home, we have no other country to call ours except Nigeria.
“You can make money in Nigeria but the system and processes must be right; come and run your business and achieve that when the right environment is created,” Obi said.
Also speaking, a former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim, urged participants at the event to take bold steps and invest in their fatherland, to achieve targets.
“If you do not come back to build Nigeria, it will wait for your children, America was built so Nigeria must be built,” Anyim warned.
Anyim, also former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, urged the diaspora investment group to partner with the governments to formulate and implement policies that attract and protect their investments.
For her part, Dabiri-Erewa said that nobody could ignore the Nigerians in the diaspora because they are often considered best anywhere they are found worldwide.
The Chairman of NIDCOM said: “We have the best doctors in the world but just look at the state of our hospitals; it is a shame.
“So no more excuses, you have the best engineers and you now have the Diaspora Commission. Let’s join hands to build the Nigeria of our dream.”
Also, Dr. Leo Egbunjobi, Chairman of AmNi Bank, said the bank had been positioned to leverage on huge liquidity NiDO move to Nigeria, to tackle inadequate funding often faced by diasporans.
The Chairman of NABF, Dr. Afolabi Andu, remarked that Nigerians in the diaspora represented the largest contributors to the country’s economy with an annual average investment of 25 billion dollars.
He said that the event marked re-affirmation of the group’s commitment to nation-building and the desire to see Nigeria take its rightful position among preferred global investment destination.
“We will rise to take charge of our common destiny through collaborative efforts of likeminded patriots, our collective will though tested by insecurity in recent years can outlast the present challenges.
“We know America built New York through the power of vision, United Arab Emirate emerged from plague of desert, applying same principle Nigeria will emerge from today’s shadows to be reckoned globally.”
Ms Jane Castor, Mayor of the City of Tampa, Florida, in her remarks said that there should be strategic plan to resuscitate Nigerian economy.
Castor said, “It is not good for just a few people to prosper in a country, those who are prosperous should be able to lift others up.” (NAN)