A call has gone out to all Nigerians living outside their homeland to regard the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) as their umbrella body.
Kenneth Gbandi, chairman of NIDO Europe, made the call at the 2nd Nigerian Global Diaspora Conference, which took place recently in Almere, Netherlands.
Addressing the summit, a follow-up to the Nigerian Diaspora Global Development Conference held in London in July 2018, Gbandi said the call had become necessary as there was a lot of misconception about the role of NIDO.
Gbandi explained that NIDO was not in competition with other Nigerian organizations in the Diaspora as the group was conceived to act as an umbrella body for all Nigerians abroad. NIDO, he said, was the platform created for all Diaspora Nigerians to engage in the development of their homeland.
Other speakers, including Adetunji Adeleke, President of NIDO Americas (Indiana), emphasised the need for the Diaspora to unite so that the NIDO could become more effective.
Attended by delegates from Europe, Middle East, Africa and North America, the Conference sought to fashion an overarching framework for an increased Diaspora engagement in Nigeria.
Top of the agenda at the conference were: the enrolment of Diaspora Nigerians in the National Identity Management Database in Nigeria, the clamour for Diaspora Voting Rights, setting a Diaspora agenda for the Nigerian Diaspora Commission and finding a Diaspora role in managing migration.
In attendance in Almere were also dignitaries including HE Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa Nigerian ambassador to the Netherland; Alhaji Abdul Rimdap, former Ambassador to Austria and Germany; and Dr (Mrs) Badewa Adejugbe-Williams, representative of Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora and Chairman/Chief Executive-Nominee for the Nigerian Diaspora Commission.
In an emotion-laden speech, Ambassador Ngofa called on his countrymen and women living in the Diaspora to get more actively involved in the affairs of their home country.
“You’re the future of Nigeria, without you Nigeria has no future,” Mr Ngofa said, advising Nigerians abroad not to be deterred by the problems in the country as there were plenty of opportunities for those with good ideas for the country. He described the conference as an opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing Nigeria.
In his speech, Ambassador Rimdap praised NIDO for its efforts to contribute to national development and spoke about his engagement with the organisation since its inception.
Mrs Adejugbe-Williams, who is the founder of the Abuja Film Village and Convener of the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit Abuja, advised Nigerians abroad to use the opportunity of the ongoing enrolment to register, which will fasten the process of securing their voting rights.
The Conference, which held from 25-27 April, furthered the discussions at London 2018, when Nigerians from across the globe gathered last July in the British capital to establish an enduring template for an increased Diaspora engagement in Nigeria’s development.