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Communiqué of the 2010 Nigerian Diaspora Day Celebration

(held at Mina, Niger State)

 

 

This Communiniqué carries recommendations which specifically challenged the Diaspora to certain developmental aspirations for Nigeria in the run-up to the year 2020 and in realisation of Nigeria Vision 2020. Having taken a cursory look at the recommendations, it is my belief that some areas are complementary to policy objectives which we are currently pursuing while others are novel to it.

We may therefore want to take closer look at these recommendations and begin to ponder over how these could shape some aspects of the policy objectives of NIDO Europe in the coming years

Below is the text of

THE COMMUNIQUE FOR THE 4TH NATIONAL DIASPORA CONFERENCE SATURDAY 24TH WEDNESDAY 28TH JULY, 2010

 

 

1.0   CONFERENCE THEME OBJECTIVES:

The 4th National Diaspora Day Conference and celebration with the theme ‘’Nigeria at 50:  The Role of the Diaspora in National Development’’ was held at the UK Bello Arts Theatre Minna, Niger State, from Saturday 24th_ Wednesday 28th July, 2010. The conference, which was organized by the Nigerian National Volunteer Services (NNVS), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), was in collaboration with the Niger  State Government and supported by various Federal Government Agencies, NIDO, Private Sector, Banks etc. The objectives of the conference were:-

i.       To sensitize Government at all levels, international development partners, the organized private sectors and the general public on the enormous potentials available amongst the Nigerians in Diaspora which could  be explored in attaining our National development goals.

ii.     To acknowledge the enormous efforts and contributions of Nigerians in Diaspora towards National Development, and show-case their products for recognition, thereby motivating and encouraging them for greater contributions.

iii.   To chart a workable action plan for more effective mobilization, interaction and utilization of the vast resources, skills, and expertise in Diaspora to development processes in  measurable and sustainable manner.

iv)      To create a platform through which issues relating to the Diaspora participation in economic, social and political processes would be addressed as well as enhance partnerships and collaboration between the Diaspora and relevant stakeholders in Nigeria.

2.0                  NIDO BOTs LEADERSHIP FORUM:

A meeting of NIDO BOTs from different continents of the world, held on the eve of the Conference Opening, afforded these leaders of the Diaspora an opportunity to discuss emerging issues on the leadership direction of NIDO as a body. The intent being to re-position the body for better functioning as the government recognized umbrella organization for Nigerians in Diaspora irrespective of religious, tribal, political and other affiliations, serving the united goal of mobilizing Diaspora participation in different sectors of the economy for overall national socio-economic well-being.

    3.0   OPENING CEREMONY

The opening ceremony of the conference was chaired by the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, CFR as the Chief host who also doubled as the representative of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR.  The Chief Servant of Niger State, His Excellency, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu was the Chief Host of the occasion. Also present to grace the occasion were the Honourable Minister of Education, Prof. (Mrs.) Ruqquyat Rufai, the Honourable Minister of State for Health Alh. Suliman Bello, Chairman House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Secretary to Niger State Government Dr. Muhammed Kuta Yahaya. Also present at the opening were some Royal  Fathers from Minna, all of whom welcomed the Diaspora and others to the conference in their remarks and goodwill messages.  Some written goodwill messages were received from other dignitaries in the persons of the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Mohamed Ka’oje Abubakar and the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Chief (Mrs) Iyom Anenih through their representatives.

The opening ceremony ended with the commissioning of an energy project, powered by solar, donated by the NIDO Europe to poor community of Kampala, near Minna, Niger State.

4.0    PARTICIPANTS:

The conference brought together 288 Nigerians in Diaspora from 28 countries, while 212 Nigerian from the public sector, the academia, and the private sector participated.  In all, about 500 participants took part in the conference. 

5.0   PAPER  PRESENTATIONS:

5.1 PLENARY SESSION I:

i)          Translating Research Findings into Concrete Products: The Role of Financial Institutions (By Mr. Olusegun O. Aganga, HMF).

ii)       Energy Issues: Diaspora Investment Case Study: Challenges and Prospects (By Prof. Batt Nnaji, SA to Mr. President on Energy).

iii)      Appropriate Processing and Preservation Technologies as Key to Food Security in Nigeria: Opportunities for Technology Transfer (By Prof. Denis Balogun, NIDO Americas; and Mr. Remi Alao, NIDO Europe).

 

5.2  PLENARY SESSION II:

i)          Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine: Combating the Scourge of Communicable Diseases in Nigeria (By Dr. Bright Echefu, NIDO Africa).

ii)       Nigeria @ 50: Ripe for Medical Tourism (By Dr. Onye Achilihu, NIDO Americas)

iii)      Investment in the Housing Sector: Opportunities, Challenges and Priorities (By Engr. A. Z. Ozidinobi, Perm. Sec. Min. Of land, Housing and Urban Dev.).

iv)      Investment and Tourism Potentials in Niger State ( Presented in parts by Alh. Abubakar, Hon. Comm. For Tourism & Culture, and Alh. Abubakar Sani Bellow, Hon. Comm. For Investment, Commerce and Cooperative both of  Niger State).

 

5.3  PLENARY SESSION  III

i)        Capacity Building: Creating Sustainable       Interface Between Nigerians in Diaspora and their counterparts in        Nigeria (Presented in parts by  Dr. Ezechi Chukwu, Board Member, NIDO Europe; and Mr. Ganiyu Ademola Dada, Chairman,       NIDO Americas).

ii)       The Challenges of Diaspora Descendants Appropriate Orientation Strategies through Cultural Engagement/Internship (By Dr. Sule Yakubu Bassi, DG, Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa  (DTCA)).

iii)      Brain Drain to Brain Gain: Incentives to   Revamp Diaspora Contributions Towards National Development (By Dr. Okey Anyadiegwu  International Consultant, Abuja).

iv)        Nigerian Diaspora Volunteerism:  Methods and Solutions

          (By Mr. Ibibia Altraide, NIDO Americas).

5.4    BREAOUT SESSIONS:

 

The Resource Papers were discussed by a rich array of experts in the various topic from the Diaspora and Nigeria, and were further subjected to in-depth analysis with concrete recommendations at  the  Breakout Sessions classified  as follows:

 

i)                  Food Security (Chaired by Prof. G. H. Ogbadu);

Sheda Science & Technology Complex,  Shestco, Abuja);

ii)                Health /Environment (Chaired by Dr. Mohammed Yusuf, NIDO Americas);

iii)             Energy and Development (Chaired by Prof. E. Ejiogu, NIDO Asia); and

iv)              Research Informed Policy Formulation (Chair: Prof. B. Eyinla, University Of Ilorin).

 

The Conference also featured a discussion forum on  Electoral Reforms: Voting Rights of Nigerians in Diaspora, which though not well attended by the key players in the sector, still served as a forum for the Diaspora to vent their views on the issue. The Forum was Chaired by Hon. Akeem Bello, NIDO Americas (ANAC).

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

The main recommendations made by the paper-presenters and participants at the end of the conference were as follows:

1.     Government should use various viability gap structures including Government funded Research Institutes and Incubation Centres to translate ideas into products that serve needs of development.

 

2.     Universities must take proactive roles and adopt ‘town and gown’ partnership models that have been so  successful in countries like USA in areas of Pharmaceutical, Electronics, Biotechnology, IT and Nanotechnology Research.

 

3.     Government should set up a mechanism for collaboration between Researchers, Academicians in Diaspora and their Nigeria counterparts.

4.     Government should provide increased funding for research activities.

5.     Government should accord more priority to Agriculture for the purpose of attaining self sufficiency in Food production, processing, preservation etc.

6.     There should be a strong working relationship and synergy with the AU-recognised Diaspora Africa Forum (DAF) for leveraging our efforts in the challenges of development.

7.     The Diaspora Voting Rights should be granted and given franchise in the 2011 National general elections.

8.     The efforts of Government in setting up the Diaspora Commission were commended and the conference urged the Government to speed up the process.

9.     The Diaspora should come up with strategies to reconnect their descendants with their country of origin; this should be through media, cuisine, clothing/fashion, cultural activities, home visitations, business relationship etc.

10.   Decentralized  generation and distribution  of power, and diversification of energy sources, to include  renewable energy and private sector participation, should be encouraged.

11.  The Diaspora should figure out how best to participate in nation building either through Public-Private-Partnership, Volunteerism, and Consultancy or as Private Developers.

12.  A reliable Diaspora database is needed for appropriate National Planning

13.  EFCC Bills before the National Assembly should be given speedy passage to allow EFCC to have special tribunals and the power to confiscate assets of corrupt officials and prosecute offenders.

14.  The National educational curricula should be restructured to reflect the importance of Guidance and Counselling as well as hands-on capacity building for self employment.

15. An action plan committee should be set up to follow up on all recommendations made at Diaspora Conferences. 

16.  The Diaspora expressed disappointment at the low turn out of top government officials invited to the Conference with whom they expected to engage on different interventions to boost development efforts at home.

17.  The Diaspora expressed appreciations to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Nigerian National Volunteer Service, and the Government and good people of Niger State for the efforts that led to the huge success recorded at the event.

18.  The Conference also noted the strong and effective partnership between the NNVS and NIDO (represented by Ms. Lola Visser-Mabogunje, Member BOT NIDO-E), in planning this 4th Diaspora Conference.

 

19.  The conference agreed that the 5th Diaspora Conference will be held in Lagos, Lagos State in 2011.

 

DONE THIS TUESDAY 27TH JULY , IN MINNA, NIGER STATE

 


 

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so God bless you as you join NIDOE in the pursuance of Nigeria national development"

 

 

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