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A cross-section of participants at the Abia State Diaspora Dialogue on Saturday

Nigeria: Abia State Diaspora Dialogue 2020 – Press Statement

Indigenes of Abia State living outside Nigeria gathered for the Abia State Diaspora Dialogue 2020 via a video conference on Saturday (15 August) to deliberate on how they could better contribute to the development of the state.

The virtual meeting, convened by the Office of the Special Adviser to Governor, Abia State, on Diaspora Matters, featured speakers from around the globe, including Ambassador Innocent Iwejuo, Deputy Consul-General, Nigerian Consulate, Atlanta, USA; Chiedozie Njoku, Executive Vice-Chairman, Enyimba Mall, Nigeria; Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu, Special Adviser to Governor, Abia State on Diaspora Matters; and Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.

Below is the press statement issued by Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu, Special Adviser to the Abia Governor on Diaspora Matters and Special Duties, on the meeting themed ‘Factors that impede Diasporan Influence/Contribution in our Communities and State, and How to Overcome Them.’

Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu, Special Adviser to the Abia Governor on Diaspora Matters and Special Duties, convened the meeting/Photo: Office of the Special Adviser to Governor, Abia State on Diaspora Matters

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I would like to use this opportunity to thank all those who participated in the Abia State Diaspora Dialogue held on August 15, 2020.

The objective was to have “an open and frank discussion on the factors that impede Diasporan influence/contribution in our communities and state, and how to overcome them”.

I am sure you will agree that this 3-hour forum met and exceeded our expectation.

Let me express my heartfelt gratitude to our guest panelists: Ambassador Innocent Iwejuo, Mr. Chiedozie Njoku, Hon Dr. Mike Ukoha and Dr. John Godson. I would also like to thank Chief Chibuzor Ngwakwe, Mr. Mba Nwakanma and Mr. Ephraim Udo Jacob who without hesitation agreed to share their experiences with respect to setting up business enterprises at home.

Lastly and most importantly, let me acknowledge Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, who kicked off the dialogue with an inspiring good will message.

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She gladly joined us despite the very short notice and amidst her crowded schedule. Thank you our Mama Diaspora!

We were fortunate to have distinguished guest speakers who went back home to make a difference. They were honest and willingly shared both positive and negative experiences. Specifically, they wanted us to appreciate the huge opportunities that are out there for Diasporans, how to engage, inherent challenges, pitfalls and more importantly, enumerated various approaches towards surmounting the obstacles.

It was remarkable to listen to them reveal mistakes they made and lessons learnt. They all expressed a willingness to mentor and support any Diasporan interested in taking this step. The ball is now in our court!

Let me end by repeating my message which is the need for us to get involved in one form or the other. As our panellists said, their journeys were by no means easy but they persevered and remained committed to their vision.

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Today, we are proud of them and what they have contributed to our state. If we can build a mega business, that’s ok but if we can’t, there is always something to start with. Even a lockup shop in your local market square could make a difference.

Many of us may not plan to live abroad forever, and so, it will be our responsibility to make that place we call home better.

Therefore, I encourage each and every one of us to continue to explore how best to approach the eventual home going.

Please note that my office is always open and willing to facilitate anything that will bring added value to Abia Diasporans in particular and Abia State in general.

Once more thanks for coming, and actively participating. God bless!

Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu
Special Adviser to the Abia Governor on
Diaspora Matters and Special Duties

 

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