Migrants in diaspora can contribute now to make a better world says Obasanjo
2017-06-15 16:03:20 -
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By Chinedu Onyejelem

A former president of Nigeria has called on his compatriots in Ireland and other immigrants not to wait till they return before they contribute to their homeland’s development.

Olusegun Obasanjo added that any such contribution would help promote a more sustainable world, which is necessary for human survival.

“In the past, people feel that they can only make contribution by coming home,” Obasanjo told Metro Éireann at the 34th annual plenary meeting of the InterAction Council, a group of former head of state and government, that was held in Dublin recently.

“Indeed, in the age of internet, computers, Facebook and Google you are only one call or message away from home.”
As for what kinds of contributions people in the diaspora could make, Nigeria’s former military dictator-cum-democratic leader suggested supporting initiatives such as the Nigeria in Disapora Organisation (Nido), which he established as president.”

Addressing the diaspora, Obasanjo said: “You have what I call intellectual property. That’s what you have acquired: knowledge, experience. Nobody can take it from you. Now out of that is there what you can apply or you can make available to be applied in any area, more so in the area of planetary health.”

During his time as president, he said, some doctors in the diaspora “got themselves together and said they want to establish a first class hospital.” While he doesn’t know how far they went with their project, he said he is aware of other Nigerians sending materials and equipment to hospitals in need, or donating mosquito nets to tackle high rates of malaria among under-fives.

Obasanjo, who co-chairs the InterAction Council alongside former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, also urged all migrants irrespective of their origins to join the fight for a sustainable planet by promoting positive action on climate change, especially in developing countries.

“We have a saying in my part of the world that ‘if Heaven is falling, there is no question of you shaking your head.’ So if it’s proved beyond reasonable doubt that human activities enough have an effect on the climate … then we will have to do something about it,” he told Metro Éireann.

Acknowledging the challenges posed by poverty and other inequalities, Obasanjo maintained that it was still possible to achieve a sustainable world.

“As humans we need to enjoy a healthy climate, because our life is not complete if the animals that God has created to complete the cycle of existence are destroyed,” he said.

TAGS : Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo
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