The Nigerians in Diaspora under the umbrella of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), has collaborated since inception with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to organize annually the Nigerian Diaspora Day conference, officially recognized day for the Nigerian Diaspora. During these annual conferences, the Diaspora has presented projects and solutions to help the Nigerian economy, improve healthcare, engage in ICT, youth empowerment training, conduct medical missions, etc.

This year is no different. We will not only consolidate on these programs but NIDO and other Diaspora professional groups are poised to presenting practical proposals that key into the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP). The BUSINESSDAY special report of 10 June 2019, summarizes the crucial role of the Diaspora in sustaining the Nigerian economy. According to data provided by the Central Bank, Diaspora remittances (cash sent back home by Nigerian emigrants) first outpaced oil revenue in 2015, as the $21.2 billion sent home officially by Nigerians abroad surpassed the $19.6 billion oil export proceeds for those twelve months.

In the years through a recession-tainted 2016 and 2017 as well as last year, the trend continued. In 2016 and 2017, Nigerians abroad sent home $19.7 billion and $22 billion respectively, which were higher than the $10.4 billion and $13.4 billion garnered from oil exports in the same period. “The only thing holding up the economy is the Diaspora; Andrew Nevin, the chief economist at consulting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers concluded that if Nigeria did not have this massive flow of remittances, he is pretty sure the economy would collapse.

However, what most International analyst could not quantify, though acknowledged is the enormous human capital spared across the globe, Needless to add the huge personal and financial sacrifices each and every one of us had paid and is paying in search of homeland development. The tasks before us is clear. In presenting practical proposals that key into the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, we will also focus on other equally important issues, including but not limited to the enrolment of all Nigerians in Diaspora into the National Identity Database (NIDB), realization of the Diaspora Voting Rights by 2023, good governance and full constitution and participation in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) in accordance with NIDICOM Act.

2019 Diaspora Day is providing another opportunity to reject tendencies that help to make us competitors rather than collaborators for homeland development. We must accept to unite on the issues that not only bring us together but also on issues that provides solutions for the myriad of challenges facing our country today. „Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come” ( Victor Hugo) It’s time to rekindle the fast dwindling indomitable Diaspora Spirit, unite around a common agenda, work effectively with the private sector, governments and non-governmental organization at all levels and bring Diaspora alternative policies to bear in Nigeria. With the birth of NIDCOM, it is the time NIDO and all Diaspora play seriously their expected roles in the development of our homeland.

– Long Live The Federal Republic of Nigeria

– Long Live NIDO

– Long Live the Nigerian Global Diaspora

Kenneth Chibuogwu Gbandi, NIDOG (Chairman Nigerians In Diaspora Organization Europe)