Nigerians abroad should show more interest in what is happening at home instead of just criticising the authorities, the facilitator, Nigeria Diaspora Network, Mr. Funmi Omosule has said.
Speaking during a telephone interview from his base in the United States of America, Omosule, who was recently appointed by the Nigeria Diaspora Network as its international facilitator, said Nigerians living abroad were expected to be engaged in the development of their fatherland.
He called on them to show more interest in governance at home to enable them to bring their international exposure to bear on these policies.
“Unfortunately, the majority of Nigerians in the Diaspora are too far from the workings of the government back home. This has to change because Nigerians in Diaspora, if well organised and effectively coordinated can change the game at home,” he added.
According to him, Nigerians abroad can undertake many projects without the government.
He, however, noted that because the federal government wielded too much power, approval of the government in Abuja was often required to get things done in local areas.
He said: “One of the reasons it is difficult for many Nigerians in the Diaspora to set up in Nigeria is the fact that you need Abuja mostly for official paperworks and approvals for big time set ups unlike if we have a decentralised system where you only need local authorities to get things done within the locality of the site of whatever projects to be set up.”
By continuing to give ease of doing business the priority it deserves, he expressed the hope that the federal government would ultimately make it easier for Nigerians in Diaspora to come home and start projects.
Omosule also observed that many Nigerians abroad did not trust the government at home.
He said: “Since 2008, I have been interacting with Nigerians in the Diaspora and one major take is the issue of mediocres running the show and dominating the political landscape at home.
I did my best persuading professionals in the Diaspora to come and assist the governments of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan between 2000 and 2015 but majority are of the opinions that there are too many dirty political leaders betraying public trusts and Nigerian masses are asleep and not demanding accountability from the leaders as it is done abroad.
“I share some of the sentiments but I insist that efforts must start to assemble some cautiously optimistic Nigerian professionals in Diaspora to form a formidable coalition and approach Mr. President through the Nigeria Diaspora Commission to start laying a solid foundation for the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in assisting in the development of the country. They can put their professional experience, competence and knowledge of international best practices into use at home.
“Fortunately, President Muhammadu Buhari recently threw an open invitation to Nigerian professionals abroad to come and work with the administration to develop Nigeria. The time is ripe now.”
Heeding the president’s call, the International Coordinator of Nigeria Diaspora Network, Mr. Samuel Atolaiye, recently said the group was already reaching out to Nigerian professionals in all countries of the world to bring them together to work with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to change the game.
Omosule said these professionals would also come up with a Corporate Governance Code to run Nigeria as a smart economy.
He said: “I am personally involved in creating a channel for those abroad to come back to Nigeria and help. The country will benefit massively from this initiative.
“The plan is being worked out anyway and I am very optimistic it will work out pretty well.”
He said President Buhari was passionate about developing Nigeria and promoting private sector participation.
According to him, “Mr. President already threw an open invitation to Nigerians in Diaspora to come and assist his administration. The Nigeria Diaspora Network has received the presidential invitation to come and assist the government, so it is now in the court of Nigeria Diaspora Network to select the best of Nigerian professionals in Diaspora to work out a very robust collaboration with the present administration to transform Nigeria into a smart economy.”