22 January, 2021
The All Progressives Congress Committee of Diaspora Chairmen faulted the call by a social-cultural group calling for a scrap of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) in a rejoinder release today:
Rejoinder: “Scrap Or Restructure NIDCOM Now,” Oduduwa Group Urges Federal Government Over Threats By Diaspora To National Security”
We feel duty-bound to respond to the above call delivered by the Coalition of Oduduwa Descendants (COD) at a press conference recently held in Lagos.
Beyond partisan politics, as Nigerians living abroad with interest in the well-being, peace, and prosperity of Nigeria, we find the said press statement not only condescending and patronising but also outrightly disrespectful. We also feel that it is the outcome of poor understanding of what NIDOM represents and why Nigerians living abroad will take strong views against such ill-advised comments from compatriots.
Firstly, the Coalition of Oduduwa Descendants (COD) leadership has not spoken as representing Nigerians who live abroad (Nigerians in Diaspora)and, there is no indication that their members live outside the shores of Nigerians to have an understanding of the peculiar challenges facing Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Also, the COD membership and leaders would not know the huge investment in time and campaigning it took Nigerians living abroad in partnership with friendly compatriots at home particularly the current Chairperson of NIDCOM, to finally, get government buy-in and, NIDCOM established. This project took over ten years to materialise! And here we have a misguided group of Nigerians even having the effrontery, to make such puerile and offensive suggestions.
We are pleased that President Muhammadu Buhari finally signed the act establishing NIDCOM into law after so many years of rigmarole by the previous administrations and has also begun the process of getting the organisation on the path to full operational capacity. We also commend and support the current Chairman of NIDCOM Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa for her dynamism, sense of purpose and focus in ensuring that NIDCOM fulfils her mandate.
For the record as leaders of a Nigerian focused political group in the Diaspora, and on behalf of our members, we wish to state that Nigerians in Diaspora already feel disenfranchised by the unhealthy political mistreatment and disfavour being visited on them by their compatriots at home. Why for example, do we still hear compatriots at home aggressively antagonistic to the ideas of political participation of fellow Nigerians living in the Diaspora? Why are these group of Nigerians still being denied the right to be equal partners in the Nigerian political process? Why are they still required to vote at home? And why is it that uniformly Nigerian political parties are still finding it hard to accord Nigerians in Diaspora seats at the table of brotherhood in party administration?
It is to be noted that most modern nations which have experienced rapid development, have done so, not just on the back of feeding off remittances from their Diaspora population, but it is in actively encouraging fully integrated and leveraged relationships into all sectors of Nation-building in a multilateral and multipolar dimension. And this includes the political processes and platforms, not with tokenism but with a complete sense of mutual respect.
People of Nigerian ancestry do not need to live in Nigeria or be in Nigeria to serve Nigeria’s national interest. And it is time Nigerians at home begin to see their compatriots in Diaspora as equal partners in Nation-building / Nigerian project.
Dr Philip Idaewor
Chairman APC UK & Chairman APC Committee of Chairmen Diaspora Chapters
Mr Ayoola Lawal
Chairman APC Scandinavia & Secretary APC Committee of Chairmen Diaspora Chapters