By Bennett Oghifo
The Special Adviser to the Abia State Governor on Diaspora Matters and Special Duties, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu, has expressed joy with the progress Abia Diasporans all over the world are making by working together and contributing to Abia State development.
Speaking in Newark, NJ in the United States on the eve of the 2020 National Diaspora Day, the Special Adviser commended the spirit and devotion of Abia Diasporans and their commitment to support the Abia State government in various developmental programmes.
She highlighted some of the activities and accomplishments since her appointment about a year ago that include: acquisition and establishment of the Diaspora office at the Government House in Umuahia; resettlement and retraining of Abia returnees from South Africa; donation of medical equipment and supplies worth over N180 million; multiple medical missions; donation of school supplies and various educational materials, including sanitary pads; and establishment of scholarships for tertiary education for Abia State scholars. She also commended Abia Diasporans for their community spirit and praised their responses both individually and as organisations in the fight against Covid-19 in Abia State.
The Special Adviser recalled how the Diasporans have complemented the efforts of the state government by engaging in a number of initiatives such as: sharing their expertise in infectious diseases and epidemiology; providing educational services; providing PPEs to the state isolation centers; and donating cash, food supplies and other relief items to their communities.
Ogbonna-Erondu applauded the introduction of Abians in Diaspora Commission Bill (H.A.B. 21 of 2020) which has gone through the second reading in the Abia State House of Assembly. She also thanked the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and members of the Abia House of Assembly, especially the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji; the Majority Leader, Hon. Solomon Akpulonu and the sponsors of the bill: Hon. Mike Ukoha, the Minority Whip and Hon. Stanley Nwabuisi.
She expressed her optimism that the bill, when fully passed, would fulfil the key objective of promoting and establishing a true partnership between Abians in Diaspora and those at home for the development of the state.
The Special Adviser acknowledged that the unwavering support and encouragement of the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and his government facilitated these contributions. She thanked the governor for his willingness and openness in working with Diasporans for the good of the state.
She also commended the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCom), Honorable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, for her unrelenting effort to galvanise and organise Nigerian Diasporans all over the world as partners in the development of the country.
Finally, she implored Abia Diasporans to continue working hard in their various fields and to always project a good image of the state and country abroad.
She happily recalled conversations with Abia Diasporans in a number of countries such as USA, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Belgium, South Africa, Ghana, UK and the Netherlands, which she said revealed their keen interest in the development of Abia state.
She reminded Abia Diasporans everywhere that a lot remained to be done in the state, and that “while we can always criticise and identify problems, it would be more useful for Diasporans to spend their energy in finding meaningful ways to contribute to Abia development no matter how small.”