Journalism in the service of society

Nigerians in Diaspora and Nigeria’s Productivity (1)

‘There are many unsung Nigerian patriots in the diaspora bringing glory, health and wealth into Nigeria on a monthly basis. Going by World Bank records, the financial transactions of the Nigerians in the diaspora have immensely contributed to the GDP of Nigeria in the last 10 years’

NIGERIANS are too used to bad news. We are so accustomed to grotesque and vile events that good and exciting news hardly trends for more than a few hours in our social media. For example, at 11:00 pm last Monday 11 August 2022 Kizz Daniel, Bryann and Adekunle topped the list of 48 Twitter Trends in Nigeria.

Nowhere was the 35 Medals won by selfless Nigerians trending. These young patriots gave hope to our youths that there is hope in a hopeless case. Winning 12 Gold Medals, 9 Silver Medals and 14 Medals in the name of Nigeria at the just concluded Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham, the United Kingdom is not only inspirational. It is uplifting to Nigerians who have been toiling daily without acknowledgement. Positive resilience has its rewards.

News like the achievements of Tobi Amusan who is the new world record holder in hurdles at both the World Athletics Championship and the Commonwealth Games is able to revive a soul worn out by the activities of bandits and their specialists in Nigeria. How can the news of Esse Brume’s golden jump with a new Games Record of 7.00m jump at the Commonwealth Games not trend? Take the Discus thrower Goodness Nwachukwu as well as weightlifters Adijat Adenike Olarinoye and Rafiatu Folashade Lawal as shining examples of golden record breakers at the Commonwealth Games. Yet these young patriotic Nigerians have not been well celebrated by our Media.

A cheeky fellow tried to explain the absence of the excitement over Nigeria’s best outing at the Commonwealth Games in history. He said that “these athletes are all Nigerians in the diaspora to whom we only gave our green and white colour to cover our shame in the sporting arena.” I believe that the veracity of this claim does not in any way imply that Nigerians should not celebrate these patriotic Nigerians.

There is also the daring adventure of the 44-year-old United Kingdom-based Nigerian biker, Kunle Adeyanju. The rugged biker gave Nigeria good publicity for 41 days as he travelled from London to Lagos by road.

There are many unsung Nigerian patriots in the diaspora bringing glory, health and wealth into Nigeria on a monthly basis. Going by World Bank records, the financial transactions of the Nigerians in the diaspora have immensely contributed to the GDP of Nigeria in the last 10 years.

According to the World Bank, the Nigerian Diaspora population remitted $65.34bn in the three years period from 2018-2020 to boost economic activities in the country. In the years under review, on a per-person average, Nigeria was said to have received more remittances than India and Bangladesh. These two countries are acclaimed as top destinations of Diaspora remittances in the world. This year, Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflow has been projected to increase to $29bn by the end of 2022.

The point here is that, although most Nigerians in the diaspora would have wished to live in Nigeria, they are significantly improving the financial inflows in the country. If well harnessed, with integrity and a well-thought-out strategy, the vast resources from the diaspora can provide the much-needed economic stimulus we need to shore up our decimated revenues. 

The outcome of what was ordinarily planned as an online alumni event to attract funds by the College of Medicine, the University of Ibadan in Nigeria on 1 August 2022 is a pointer to the possibility of activating productivity in Nigeria’s economic system through the diaspora contributions.

 The fundraising event was meant to raise money for improving the almost dilapidated facilities in the oldest college of Medicine in West Africa. This event happened at a time when the strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities moved into its sixth month in Nigeria. The bone of contention has been the payment of an outstanding agreed sum that the Federal Government of Nigeria promised the University lecturers. This illustrates how helpless the government of Nigeria has become concerning financing different sectors of the economy.

During the online fundraising event, a little-known Nigerian Medical professional (but not recognised at all by Nigerian leaders) caused more than a stir. 

Dr Philip O. Ozuah, an alumnus of the College of Medicine announced a donation of $1 million (the equivalent of N700,000,000) to boost the provision of hostel facilities for students in the College of Medicine University of Ibadan. Philip Ozuah who graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1985 is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Montefiore Medicine, Montefiore Health System (MHS) and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. 

This is just one example of how the diaspora can help to revamp the productivity of Nigeria. However, the Government and all those leading various organisations in different sectors of Nigeria must show sincerity, vision and transparency. 

Only a system run on the principle of fiscal responsibility as well as accountability can attract foreign direct investments and unlimited inflows of diaspora funds. 

  • Dr Adeduro is the Chairman of Governing Council of the School of Mentorship and Productivity. He is [email protected]

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