Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Add this page to Blinklist Add this page to Del.icoi.us Add this page to Digg Add this page to Facebook Add this page to Furl Add this page to Google Add this page to Ma.Gnolia Add this page to Newsvine Add this page to Reddit Add this page to StumbleUpon Add this page to Technorati Add this page to Yahoo

ideas have consequences

You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>Letter to My Fellow Diasporans
Sunday, 27 October 2013 13:06

Letter to My Fellow Diasporans

Written by Ekerete Udoh

The Diasporan Perspective

Let me start this letter by openly proclaiming that the state of the Nigerian enterprise is solid and the fundamentals are strong, challenges, warts and all. I know most of you would eviscerate and lambaste me, wondering which planet I inhabit since your own take may be diametrically different from mine. While I may put some sheen and shine in my own take about the Nigerian state, yours may be defined by doom and gloom- it is perfectly normal for you to think along such lines, and I appreciate and understand your frustrations and anger, which I also share but in a more tempered  tone.


So  before you shoot your vitriolic arrows at me, before you begin to question my raison deter for doing this letter, hear me out first, analyze what I am saying here dispassionately and then you can either internalize the message or consign it in your memory bank, so that someday, when the full import of what I am about to say here stares you in the face, you will remember that years ago, there was a voice in the wildernesses  that had attempted to create hope in the oasis of despair that  you had had consigned the Nigerian state into.


For two months now, ( the longest I have ever stayed in the country in the past 14 years), I have been living in Nigeria, travelling and taking in the sight and sound of the country, the struggles at nation-building that it is currently going through, the struggle to create a modern state based on talents and competence as opposed to primordial and or geographical considerations; the conflict of identity it is currently enmeshed, where its nationals consider themselves first as citizens of a particular ethnic or geographical space as opposed to donning a national toga- an identity crises that has affected every aspect of our national life- from politics, to social and economic platforms.


I have seen hope and despair mix in a symphony of probabilities, but it is the hope that I see that I am centering this letter on. Despite the challenges that I have seen in this country, Nigeria is adopting a series of best practices on a wide range of platforms. The banking sector has been massively transformed to align its services with what obtains elsewhere, the telecommunications industry is also adapting to new realities- internet access though still low is growing in leaps and bounds. Electricity surprisingly is getting better and more stabilized.  The area in ikeja where I got an office space enjoys uninterrupted electricity and if light goes off, it is restored in less than 10 minutes, my investment in generator, so far has been of minimal use. I used to hear friends tell me that light has improved in the country; I didn’t believe them, until I experienced it firsthand. Kudos to the Jonathan administration for this slow but steady improvement in electricity consumption in the country,


Despite the harrowing infrastructural and living condition conditions that exit in the country, Nigerians are still pulling water out of the rock and are living their dreams. Young men and women are starting up businesses; they are harnessing their creative energies to tap into the globalized space, using technology as a platform to create wealth for themselves.  In a country of almost 170 million people, with conservatively 20 million people with easily disposable income, the smart ones are tailoring their goods and services to a niche market and they are smiling their way to the bank daily.


Nigeria is going through its own Gilded Age, as America went through in the late 1880s to the turn of the Twentieth Century, and we Diasporans should be in the vanguard of such a march, creating momentum that would soon become a tipping point, but we are not. We are content and take delight in shouting ourselves hoarse from the comforts of our abodes in Europe and America, preaching about best practices while refusing to be in the kitchen, and to take the heat that comes before the sumptuous meal.


Fellow Diasporans, Nigeria is moving forward, and those who sit here in the trenches of its development are watching us, laughing at us, especially when we take umbrage and pontificate at the shenanigans that go on in our political process without offering ourselves to be a part of the process. We are being laughed at, because, we are putting ourselves as factors, in the grand scheme of things. Do majority of us vote? Can we influence the outcome of elections here? Of course, if we were united and properly invested in the process, we could engender some changes or have our voices heard and respected after all, we remit billions of dollars to this country every year, and as they say, he who pays the piper dictates the tune, but we are scattered and are propelled by disparate and ideologically heterogeneous impulses, and our politicians know this, and they just laugh at us, as noise makers, who only grandstand on social media sites. We can change that perception by being actively engaged in all aspects of our national life.


If you want this country to benefit from your expertise and skills-sets, begin to come back gradually to this country, look at areas that you can add value and put in your all, and you will be rewarded over time. I have decided to do just that, and, that explains why I have been here for two months now. I believe that event though my love for the United States is deep-rooted and I am proud to call myself a Nigerian-American, the best I can utilize what America did for me, educating me, in some of its best colleges, would be for me to come home and add value to our collective essence.


It has not been easy doing that, for the past two months, as a matter of fact, there has been moments that I told myself I can’t do this anymore, but when I look at the success stories of hundreds of thousands of my earlier Diasporans who braved the odds and are today flourishing beyond their widest imaginations, while still retaining 100 percent, their American-ness or British orientations, I became inspired. And so my fellow Diasporans, my advice to you is simple: as you enjoy the American or European dream, don’t foreclose those that can be realized back home. There is nothing as sweet as having the best of two worlds. Think about it!


Ekerete Udoh writes for ThisDay News


Add comment