Tuesday, 17 August 2004
All Nigerians and friends of Nigerians ought to be passionate about Nigeria.The mission statement of Nigerians In Diaspora Organization, hereinafter referred to as NIDO for short, is essentially the desire to generate positive passions by all and from all, toward the growth and advancement of Nigeria. And it is quite difficult for anyone to find any negative thing about that; NIDO is intended to create the cohesion of ideas by the now plentiful Nigerians living outside of Nigeria for the benefit of Nigeria, because, logically, if Nigeria wins, Nigerians at home and abroad will all win.
It is the case however, that NIDO have been in the news, negative news, more often, than in the positive territory and or NIDO is not in hot pursuit of NIDO’s aims and objectives. For the unconverted, it is the case today, that there is a massive number of Nigerian professional and middle class cadre living outside Nigeria and their fields of endeavor or professional callings, spans a very wide and expansive spectrum. In view of these facts, one can only imagine the incredible and limitless possibilities therein, if these Nigerians in different locales of the world coalesce to bring their training, experience and varied exposure, all for the benefit of our beloved nation!
A Nigerian lawyer here in New York, recently narrated to me, how NIDO’s conception and launching was initially greeted with great interests and enthusiasm, which has since waned or fizzled. She narrated how the erstwhile Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Senator Jubril Aminu, a professor of medicine, had, organized and presided over, a NIDO conference in New York City, (which I missed!) My source revealed how, numerous corporate bodies, American and Canadian, were sponsors and enthusiastic participants of the events which lasted several days in New York Sheraton Hotels.
I am informed that many wonderful ideas were generated by attendees and sundry participants, as business contacts and agreements were cemented. It is my understanding that Senator Aminu inspired and motivated everyone with whom he was in contact.
But what happened thereafter to NIDO and the wonderful idea leading to its formation? Why did we lose sustained focus and direction? I have heard speculations, to the effect that NIDO sluggish and lagging achievements, are mostly, as a result of negative chasms and schisms between certain individuals, who are only interested in power, for power’s sake and without the corresponding interests, in public or common good of Nigerians.
I have learnt that this power tussle and power grab, has led to so much frictions and tension to the extent, that NIDO became factionalized along the usual divides.
This development is certainly very troubling! Consider that we are thousands of miles away from Nigeria further consider the fact that, NIDO members are cream of the crop Nigerians abroad, lawyers, doctors, engineers, top-flight management level persons, etc all accomplished in their various professions.
Troubling, because, Nigerians professionals abroad are supposed to be, without the usual strictures, drawbacks and burdens of ethnic, religious and regional divides responsible for ruining many a good thing, in Nigeria… but, these multiple distractions and evils, still manage to infiltrate the thinking of some Nigerians at such high professional levels! And so far away from home, what gives?
How can Nigerians abroad, who are among the most educated, sophisticated, the most traveled and with incredible exposure to what make other nations great and exposed to how the world works, still engage in myopic and parochial schisms? Why do some Nigerians continue to wallow in dirty muddy gutters, when we all, ought to take swims in our wondrous diversities to our ultimate fulfillment, development, our progress and advancement?
How can we, Nigerian professionals, middleclass, enlightened, and all-knowing, fail in making a success out of NIDO, even with the very lofty ideals, aims and objectives that should be clear to all? How can we Nigerians abroad be expected to be taken seriously by Nigerians citizens at home, particularly, the leadership in Nigeria, when we cannot run NIDO successfully, and yet, most of us, would insist, that we would do better, if we had a chance to run the affairs of Nigeria? Some of us here, have proven incapable of running cultural associations and unions, or churches and mosques, here in the Diaspora, without eschewing the usual ethnic, religious and regional animosities.
How can we, Nigerians abroad, then have the audacities and effronteries to continue to deride Nigerian and African leaders at home for their failings? Even as we insist that our education and our experience, our exposure to other cultures and systems have broadened our perspectives and our outlooks? How is it, then, that our travels and knowledge of what works for the rest of the world, has managed to elude our thinking and our actions for the benefit of Nigeria? How is it, oh how, then, that we engage in petty squabbles, when we ought to focus on our crucially urgent national interests? How is it, as it stands now, we are our own barriers to our progress and advancements?
NIDO members, who squabble needlessly, are not doing Nigeria any good, Nigerians abroad, who distance themselves from NIDO are equally not doing Nigeria any favors, how can they make meaningful contributions from their absence and lack of participations? Nigeria must in this instance, be likened to a company or corporation where we are shareholders, we the shareholders have poor opinions of the board of directors, including the chairperson of the board, but, we assume that the fortunes our company/corporation will improve, if we do nothing? The truth is, our shares will continue to plummet in value and our company/corporation may face bankruptcy and become bankrupt soon enough, from our inaction and nonchalance! Whereas, if we actively participate in reversing the mismanagement, with critical thinking, through the engagements of words and actions, the fortunes of our company will improve and our shares and dividends returns, on investments, will surprise us, pleasantly.
Too many Nigerians seem to think that it is the job of someone else, to right all the wrongs in Nigeria; But the truth is that, only Nigerians can save Nigeria, albeit, with some help from friends and well-wishers, the heavy-lifting and the bulk of the work, is Nigerians’ to do! No Cameroonians are coming to save us, no Ghananians or Americans or Europeans are interested in saving Nigeria for Nigerians’ good! Other peoples have their various countries and national interests to worry about. Saving Nigeria, pursuing Nigeria’s interests passionately and relentlessly with utmost intensity, is Nigerians’ duty.
Nigerians are recognized by a lot of non-Nigerians as very bright, smart or even brilliant lot! But what does the state of our national affairs say about us? Are we too smart for our own benefit and our own good? Could it be? Why can’t we channel our minds, our hearts, our ideas, our passions for the uplifting of Nigeria and Nigeria’s National Interests and all it entails? We should see Nigeria in three D’s, Delighted to be Nigerians, Disappointed at current state of affairs and Determined to fix and remedy all that Nigeria confronts
To Nigerians in Diaspora I would say, participate in NIDO, its success is Nigeria’s success, your success and mine, and when you attend NIDO meetings, realize that, you could have been doing a million things instead, but, you elected to sacrifice your time for a very worthy cause! So ensure the time you sacrifice, counts; Engaging in needless arguments or idiotic distractions that are useless to you, to NIDO and to Nigeria, must therefore be avoided at all costs! Nigeria is already a day late in our journey to national fulfillments, none of us, want to be a factor in the continued delay of our national purpose
Dr. Martin Luther King, looked at slavery, colonialism, segregation and racism in the face, he ignored all the apparent or obvious brutalities of these evils and he made a mark on the world, so did Malcolm X and Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela, Nigerians who always hide behind excuses of the weighty obstacles and impediments, presented by Nigeria’s economic and political challenges, must cease their skepticism and cynicism.
It takes the passion and commitment of a few, sometimes to accomplish great things and great changes, it takes the vocal and focused few to triumph over the complacent or passive majority and in NIDO as in Nigeria, successfully running activities, will require a singular and spectacular dedication, commitment and passions of a few good ones.
Nigeria is redeemable, the economic and political challenges we face are not peculiarly unique, Nigerians, are insufferably tougher than any circumstances Nigeria face. Our myriad challenges are surmountable, we should adjust our attitude towards Nigeria and speak and act more positively, have more favorable disposition to Nigeria and fellow Nigerians and Nigerians and Nigeria will surely overcome the funks and malaises.
There are no monuments built anywhere in the world in commemoration of pessimists