Tinubu’s cabinet: NIDO Europe makes strong case for inclusion of Nigerians in diaspora

Tinubu’s cabinet: NIDO Europe makes strong case for inclusion of Nigerians in diaspora
July 24 07:00 2023 Print This Article
The continental Chairman of NIDO Europe, Dr Bashir Obasekola has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to consider Nigerians in diaspora as he appoints his new cabinet.

Dr. Obasekola stated this while speaking with journalists during a program organised by the body in Abuja over the weekend. He noted that President Tinubu had demonstrated his desire to work with Nigerians in the diaspora during his time as the governor of Lagos state, which he maintained he would not deviate from as he picked his new cabinet as a President.
the NIDO Europe Chairman also spoke on the need for the 10th National Assembly to consider passing the bill allowing diasporans to vote in subsequent elections. Below is the full interview with Dr Obasekola:
*What is this program all about?*
This program is unique because we are celebrating our 20th anniversary, even though it was last year but we couldn’t celebrate it due to the consequences of COVID-19 we postponed it to this year to celebrate it in Nigeria by spending our money in Nigeria and enhancing the economy of the country. We have supported charities, small and medium scale enterprises and also to show ourselves  as a part of the new beginning for diaspora organizations in Nigeria.
*What is the goal of NIDO Europe?
NIDO is Nigerians In Diaspora Organization, it is for homeland development. The essence of the organization created in the year 2000, started in the Americas and later in Europe. It was created by the then president Olusegun Obasanjo when he traveled and discovered a lot of Nigerians are doing great things outside the country.
He said there is a need to form ourselves into an organization whereby he can approach and take advantage of the pool of expertise for homeland development. From 2002 this vision has spread and today we have NIDO Europe, NIDO in America, in Africa, in Asia and in the Oceania.
Specifically, I’m the chairman of NIDO in Europe where we have chapters across Europe and as you have seen from this event we have delegates from most of the European countries where we have chapters.
*Do you have any relationship with NIDCOM?*
Of course, NIDCOM is the interface between us and government. NIDO existed before NIDCOM but it is more like our baby, what we asked from the government as an interface between us and government. All we do at NIDCOM we push it through NIDCOM so that we can have the government’s ears.
We are expecting the chairman of NIDCOM or her representative here. We have been in the country for a week and NIDCOM has delegated an officer who is with us in all our engagements in the country.
*Diaspora voting in the last constitution review, what will be your advocacy on the subject?*
That has been our message in all the government MDAs we have been to since we came into the country. And next week we are going to the national assembly to remind them that the new 10th assembly must take diaspora voting seriously because it is very necessary for Nigerians outside the country to be part and parcel of the political administration of the country. So, it is important we perform our civic right of voting.
*Are you expecting any diasporan in the cabinet of President Tinubu?*
Yes, we are expecting it because you may recollect that while he was the governor of Lagos state, some of the commissioners were people from the diaspora. We expect that at the federal level, he will also give opportunity to the diaspora because we have a lot of expertise and experience. Some of the things we think are impossible in Nigeria, some of the countries have done them so with Nigerians in diaspora in the administration they can come over and say that the countries who have done those things don’t have two heads, with their experience we too can do it. I expect diasporan in this administration even if not at ministerial level but in other capacities as head of MDAs.
*Can we have a specific figure to your charity projects and the value of NIDO Europe remittances to Nigeria’s economy?*
Well, you will be reading about remittances in the papers from diasporans, we send money to our relatives regularly but beyond that we have contributed to the economy through investment in real estate, Nollywood, agriculture and several other sectors. About 25 billion dollars coming through diaspora remittances is no joke and we are encouraging our members to contribute more to the development of the real economy directly.
*Your take on the subsidy removal that has negatively impacted Nigerians?*
Giving our experiences in our different countries subsidy is not new in the countries of the world but what is the problem is the way and manner it is been handled. If it is not benefitting the people, it is better to remove the subsidy that is benefitting other neighboring countries and take it to another area such as agriculture or transportation that will directly benefit Nigerians.
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