Officials of the Coalition of Oduduwa Descendant at the press conference
By Dave Iyima
The Coalition of Oduduwa Descendants (COD) has urged the Federal Government to totally scrap or restructure the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) over threats to national security by some Nigerians in the Diaspora.
According to the Oduduwa group, this has become paramount following hate campaigns by some disgruntled elements abroad , endorsing negative publicity about Nigeria.
The COD made these known at a press conference on Tuesday in Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of the group, National Coordinator, Lekan Ekundayo, said NIDCOM has failed in its mandates thereby discouraging many investors, exaggerating the security situation and underreporting the success made in the fight against insecurity.
The group noted that many campaign of calumny against the country abroad are spearheaded by these Nigerians abroad.
According to COD, these criminal elements hiding abroad have also encouraged enemies of the Nigerian state like Boko Haram, insurgents and other economic saboteurs to continue to wreak havoc on the country.
Instead of promoting the image of the nation abroad, the Yoruba group said NIDCOM has become the refinery for the processing of crude, scathing critics and all forms of negativism against Nigeria.
The Oduduwa descents, however, urged the FG to scrap NIDCOM or restructure it inorder to focus on its “fundamental objectives of harnessing our human resources for good and not for the destruction of Nigeria”.
It also advised the commission to focus on researches that would facilitate development in Nigeria in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture and medicine.
Read full statement:
Gentlemen of the press,
We are addressing you today on an issue of urgent national importance.
This has to do with the way our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora have constantly been portraying Nigeria in negative light thereby influencing our citizens and other citizens of the world to hate our dear country, Nigeria.
We are also alarmed by the official consent given to these hate campaigns by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, which is like given an official endorsement to negative publicity about Nigeria.
Going by the kinds of texts and literature coming from our kindred in the Diaspora, one would assume that there is absolutely nothing good about Nigeria and that this country is only fit to be discarded and dumped in the refuse bin.
Saying anything positive about Nigeria is now considered demeaning and for one to belong to the class of individuals seen as deep intellectuals, one must attack the Nigerian government and speak of happenings in the country as the worst in human history.
It is this kind of mindset that gave birth and nurtured the self hating and seditious sentiments of the likes of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB who kept referring to Nigeria as a zoo and had wanted to start an insurrection until he was checkmated by the Nigerian Government.
These set of people have become in the words of Prof. Toyin Falola, “like the Europeans in 19th century Africa, the colonizers, who saw nothing good about the continent.”
According to a United Nations 2017 report, there are at least 1.24 million migrants from Nigeria in the Diaspora but that this figure is likely to be higher in 2018 and 2019 with the recent trend in migration from Nigeria.
These include people who have done their basic and tertiary education in Nigeria but are unwilling to contribute their quota for the development of the country and have set their minds only on looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
These are people who have benefited from the free primary and basic education programmes of previous Nigerian governments, enjoyed various forms of scholarships at the tertiary levels and were treated with high respect and dignity and given choice appointments upon graduation from the universities.
These are the same set of people that have now turned their backs on the very country that gave them these opportunities.
So, as these Nigerians who benefited from the Nigerian system continue in their hate campaigns, the damages they’re doing to the well being of the country is better imagined.
By their actions and comments, they have discouraged many investors from coming into Nigeria as they exaggerate the security situation in the country and underreport the success made in the fight against insecurity.
Unfortunately, their comments influence other unsuspecting citizens not to believe in themselves but begin to think that nothing good can come out of Nigeria and that the only way they can make it is to escape to other countries.
They have encouraged corruption in the public sevice because people who are reading them have come to believe that the only way they can make it is tosteal from the public till and send their children to schools abroad no matter the cost even as Nigeria offers better opportunities in that regard.
The utterances and actions of these Nigerians in the Diaspora has stalled the growth of public institutions in Nigeria as their self hate sermons has encouraged a lackadaisical attitude towards everything the country represents.
Worse still, it has encouraged enemies of the Nigerian State like the Boko Haram terrorists, insurgents and other economic saboteurs to continue to wreak havoc on the country in the misguided belief that they share common passion with Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Their attitude has also served to dampen the morale of security agencies who are in the field putting their lives on the line to secure the country as troops go home with the belief that they’re not appreciated.
THE ROLE OF NIDCOM
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, which was created to provide for the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in the policies, projects and participation in the development of Nigeria and for the purpose of utilising the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in Diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development has unfortunately allowed itself to be used by these see -nothing -good -about-Nigeria set of Nigerians.
Rather than adhere strictly to its role of fostering development, NIDCOM has now become the refinery for the processing of crude but scathing criticisms and all forms of negativism against Nigeria.
The Commission, rather than insist on the positive aspect of its role is lending itself to the projection of negative images about Nigeria and this is most unfortunate.
THE WAY OUT
NIDCOM must be called to order and reminded of its fundamental objectives of harnessing our human resources for good and not for the destruction of Nigeria.
It should not allow itself to be used by self-seekng opportunists to paint the country in bad light.
If the Commission refuses to fall in line, it should be restructured and reconstituted to allow only those with passion to develop the country come on board as the Commission has failed by becoming an avenue for disgruntled elements to congregate against the interest of the entire country.
Nigerians in the Diaspora on the other hand, should focus on researches that would facilitate development in Nigeria in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture and medicine and not jusy to be regurgitating worn out political theories that have become stale and are no longer applicable in the new world order.
They should be making remittances home not just to build hotels and mansions in their villages for camping young girls but to build industries for the employment of youths.
Nothing stops Nigerians in the Diaspora from building basic infrastructure like schools and hospitals to complement what the government is doing.
They should also use their various positions abroad to project Nigeria as an emerging world economy to woo foreign investors and they should stop magnifying the country’s challenges as there is no nation without challenges.
Finally, we call on Nigerians in the Diaspora to in the words of Prof. Falola remember that, “You are supposed to empower your people, not destroy them. Statements to uplift and upgrade are different from statements to ridicule. We all criticise, even we criticise family members, but not that we want to push them to the mouth of the lion.”