DEAR friends in Diaspora.
It is with great pleasure I write this open letter with the utmost expectation that all is very well with you, your family and all your endeavours.
Your patriotism for your motherland is not in doubt because your decision to sojourn abroad became inevitable when the nation’s social economic and political stability in the past was hazy and not too friendly for comfort.
Then and probably now in some respects, the world continue to hold the view that Nigeria is too rich for its people to be poor and trapped in its peculiar agonies of rat race existence. An African legend, Bob Marley once sang: ‘In the abundance of water the fool is thirsty.’
It may not be wrong to arrive at that conclusion though, when in the midst of the recession and hunger in the land, some serving senators are flaunting so much wealth including the purchase of cars bought with several millions of naira which is just a pinch of salt from the plethora of affluence displayed by others in the corridor of power, either at the local government councils, the state and federal government, the Judiciary and other government establishments.
The recklessness of those who are opportune to steal government money and their nonchalance attitude to the plight of the majority of Nigerians who work to earn a living has become very worrisome.
But thank God, you guys were able to see the bleak situation ahead and you took the bold step to seek a living in greener pastures and some of you are reaping from the fruits of that singular act. As a nation we have attributed so many reasons why we are where we are today and some of them are the ineptitude of some of our leaders, our inability to make our democracy work as well as our inability to manage our God given resources.
However, I must stress that to make our democracy work maximally, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers, as one who does not vote or participate in the process of choosing who becomes a leader or does not contribute in any meaningful way how to change things for the good of all has no right to complain.
In the words of the immediate past United States of America President, Barrack Obama, ‘Our destiny is not written for us but by us. Afrizca does not need strong men but strong institutions.’ Therefore as a nation, or as a state, we need to build strong institutions that will be the agent of the change we desire.
As friends of Edo State in Diaspora, we now need your collaboration with the government of Mr Godwin Obaseki to build those strong institutions that are prevalent in developed nations across the world. Even if you never participated in the electoral process, you are invited to partake in the building of a state that will be the envy of other states in the country.
There is no doubt that the state governor has put in place structures on the ground that will transform those campaign promises to physical manifestation as he hit the ground running. There are quite a lot to be done and as Head of the Economic team of the former administration, Mr Obaseki had no problem taking off smoothly.
The Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, lived up to the expectations of political observers as a political leader with a focus and left his footprints for posterity sake. He brought from his experience as a labour leader the spirit of the never say die attitude and succeeded to prove sceptics wrong that as a unionist he could succeed because he has the will to do so.
When he commenced work in his first tenure in office, Oshiomhole delved in to areas where nobody ever thought he would accomplish anything meaningful and he was out rightly challenged. But he was never perturbed, rather he continued with so much zeal and they called him all sorts of names. For example, when he started the construction of the six lane Airport road in the heart of Benin City, some persons went to court to challenge the reason why their ancient structures without approved building plans should be demolished to make way for the express road with walkway.
Some people took to propaganda and drew the attention of the Oba palace to intervene, but thank God for the wisdom and foresight of His Royal Majesty, OmoN’ObaN’EdoUku-Akpolokpolo who gave the governor then, the blessing to continue with what was good for the state. That also happened when the beautification of the city centre and the water fountain was constructed at the Ring road and arm chair critics were at work with so many insinuations that was capable of deflating the enthusiasm of a man who meant well for the people.
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was a labour leader who believed the people must always lead irrespective of whose ox is goad. He was always on the side of the people and that no doubt was responsible for his remarkable success as President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and he became a house hold name.
Edo people have voted for continuity of the programmes of the All Progressive Congress, APC, with the believe that Mr Godwin Obaseki will sustain and improve on what they have benefited from the former administration. According to the scriptures, leaders are from God and it is therefore incumbent on us all to pray for them.
It is obvious that so many of our brothers and sisters who have sojourned abroad and have made fortunes through their hard work and ingenuity have signified their interest to be part of the transformation drive in the state. In this era of economic recession, all hands must be on deck to assist the administration in the task of transforming our dear state.
The state has been blessed with people like you and it is not by mistake that you have been positioned for this, because our God who knows the beginning and the end, knows that one day duty call will pull you for a time like this in Edo State.
One thing we must know is that some things just do not happen, especially if God is involved. If you are interested to come back home to contribute to its development it should be with a sincere motive and see yourself as a volunteer for this mission. Edo State need your expertise, your investments, not necessarily because you want to make more money, but because you want to make yourself available and reduce the burden on government.
We are going to be very happy to see your contributions in the state especially in the area of providing jobs opportunity for the people through the industries that will be created across the state. It is our expectation that just as you have made your impact felt in other places, we want to be beneficiaries here in Edo state too. The governor has always said that one of his focus will be to industrialize the state and with you guys, this feat can be easily achieved.
The clarion call on our diaspora friends is that there is no better time than now for you to come back home. You may not necessarily be from Edo State, the administration of Mr Godwin Obaseki has promised to provide the enabling environment for you to thrive with your investments.
Eubaldus Enahoro is Asst. Editor with The Nigerian Observer.