Wednesday 2 July 2008

Nigeria: Diaspora in vision dispersal

A blog-inspired meeting

This morning had my phone ringing for a conversation with an auspicious lady of Nigerian heritage who is involved in a number of critical development projects focusing on the monitoring metrics necessary to make institutions viable and productive in their communities.

This chance telephone conversation came about as a result of a blog I wrote last week expressing displeasure in some comments made by the new Nigerian ambassador to the Netherlands.

Nigerians in Diaspora

Though I have never been engaged in Nigerian community activities in Europe and I know many Nigerians who shy away from such forums, it was interesting to learn that an organisation exists as a collective for all Nigerians called Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE).

I could well believe the need for such an organisation but I am worried that whilst there is this thrust for getting involved in development projects far out at home in Nigeria, I have not seen much in terms of their profile for issues that affect Nigerians right here at home in Europe itself.

Fighting wars at home

The prominent ones that come to mind are the murder of Osamuyia Aikpitanhi who in the desperation for the Spanish immigration authorities to deport an illegal immigrant restrained him like an animal and literally snuffed the life out of the young man in June 2007.

More recently, a whole group of Nigerians were seriously maltreated by British Airways in the UK as they protested against the actions causing serious distress during the process of trying to deport another illegal immigrant.

I cannot believe we have an organisation as this which with its reputation and clout could be the organ of justice and empowerment but end up with individuals as activists for better rights for Nigerians in Europe.

Too grand for little things

I have seen grand statements, grandiloquent publications and the angling for unconcealed one-upmanship in papers that postulate to Utopian aspirations in Nigeria.

For all the vision and objectives [Source - NIDOE] of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in Europe, one critical part is missing – there is no way we can confidently harness the pool of talent in Diaspora for Nigeria if we have not worked well to ensure that the welfare or rights of Nigerians abroad amongst us are assured and intimated strongly to our ambassadorial representatives.

This is not to say the esteemed company of the board of trustees that consists of personalities with more letters of renown than to pave a street with gold are not involved in already worthwhile causes wherever they are, but maybe it would be contemptible to handle such lowly distractions.

Charity begins at home, here

All Nigerians would be aware of the saying, Charity begins at home, and the truth for Nigerians in Diaspora is that the home is not in Nigeria but out here in Diaspora.

All Nigerians, including those who belong to the less salubrious context of illegal immigrants can only have a voice when organised forums like NIDOE leverage their knowledge, expertise, wealth and abilities to first, their local community of Nigerians which would help them have the necessary track record to promote the quest for making a difference in Nigeria.

A need for a focus that transcends the lofty aspirations to Nigeria to handling socio-economic issues of the talent pool that surrounds us here is not too much to ask for.

Rottenly inferior homepages

In the end, I am sometimes surprised as I look at the homepages of the Nigerian Embassy in the Netherlands, NIDOE and many others of Nigerian provenance – another blog topic – how very little artistic ability is applied to aesthetic look of the public access websites – Why do we continue to accept such crap?

I am no web designer, but I know when I have been to a good web site, these are appallingly amateurish and should have the designers and approvers certifiable to say the least.

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