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NIGERIANS IN THE DIASPORA, AND THE CHALLENGE OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Nine out of 10 Nigerian youths today nurse a burning desire to search for their fortunes outside the country. To them, Nigeria holds no hope for a growing young man. Indeed, to them, every other country is better than Nigeria.

It might seem untidy for one to think negatively of his fatherland, but it is often beneficial at long last to face the reality of a situation rather than live in denial. The high rate of unemployment occasioned by an unsteady economy, institutionalized corruption, high crimes, a rising poverty rate, and growing state of insecurity in the country have instilled a palpable desperation in the upcoming Nigerians to look for visas to countries in Europe and America. Those not fortunate enough to procure visas enter the countries of their choice illegally and seek asylum later.

As it is said, East or West, home is the best. Perhaps these runaway fortune seekers aim at making some money to return home to settle down. Along the line, they get trapped in foreign lands, because the unstable situation at home seems to dwindle rather than improve.

As they sojourn in those lands, hoping one day to return to enjoy the sweet village life they were used to before leaving the shores of the country, the grim state of affairs at home should stir up concern among them. They must realize that they are significant in the development of the country.

The Diaspora Nigerians, as a matter of fact, have been playing a major role in the economic development of the country just as was the case with India in the 1970s. Records show that they contribute an average of $23.5 billion dollars every day to the Nigerian economy in the form of direct business investments and remittances to their families for hospital bills, education, and basic amenities.

But, they must go beyond sending money home to their relatives to addressing the politics of the nation. They must, at all costs, put pressure on the international community to be positively interested in Nigeria. They must make powerful representations to respective countries and international organizations to help maintain sanity in Nigeria, through various forms of assistance and aids.

The plethora of problems besetting Nigeria can only be resolved with correct politics. The imperative of true federalism in Nigeria is obvious for there to be peace, and those in the Diaspora should press hard for it.

Although globalization has succeeded to an extent in breaking socio-cultural barriers among the people of the world, it is unlikely to erase territorial boundaries as man, by nature, is territorial, no matter how much he desires communalism. That is why it is usually said that the right of someone to swing hands ends at the point another person’s nose begins.

However, the size of the country can be turned into an advantage, especially if it is modelled after world’s popular federations and republics such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, among others.

True Nigerians in the Diaspora should persuade the world to know that a truly federal system fits the unique diversity of this country. The diversionary terms such as “home-grown democracy” or “our own form of federalism” are deceptive in nature as democracy and federalism have their meanings and definitions.

The world powers, as part of a global community, should buy into the move to make this country stable to absolve themselves of complicity in Nigeria’s woes. Besides, a well-governed and secure Nigeria and Africa on the whole should relieve them of immigration headaches while also offering them the opportunity to enjoy in peace, as before, the sweet climate of the tropics and its rich vegetation when they visit.

Essentially, the rate at which Nigerians of various professions flee to other countries even as the country claims to be the giant of Africa must be curtailed.

By Innocent Igwe

For DNCA

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