Mr Obed Monago, a key U.S.-based stakeholder has setperformance agenda for the leadership of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), ahead of its take-off. Monago, who chairs the Board of Trustees of Nigerians inDiaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA), told NigeriaNews Agency in New York on Friday, that professionalism should be upheld inthe management and operations of the agency.
He said NIDCOM should be “Diaspora-centred”, and itsactivities devoid of the “Nigerian factor”. The NIDOA BOT chairman spoke in reaction to the confirmationof Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa as chairperson of the commission on Thursday, by the
Senate. Dabiri-Erewa is the Senior Special Assistant to the Presidenton Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.
The confirmation came six months after President MuhammaduBuhari forwarded her nomination to the Senate in November. NAN recalls that the Nigeria Diaspora CommissionEstablishment Bill was signed into law by then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in July, 2017. Addressing participants at a Diaspora leadership conferencein New York on May 3, Dabiri-Erewa said the commission had not taken off because of the delay in her confirmation.
NIDCOM is a platform by government to formally engageNigerians in the Diaspora, and harness their “enormous resources” for national development. Diaspora remittances to Nigeria hit 25 billion dollars (N8trillion) in 2018, according to international audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
In a report, PwC said the figure represented 6.1 per cent ofthe country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 83 per cent of the Federal Government’s 2018 budget. This underscores the need for an agency for government toformally engage this critical segment in the search for solutions to the country’s developmental challenges.
Describing Dabiri-Erewa’s confirmation as well-deserved andlong overdue, Monago said members of NIDOA had been energised by the development. He stated that the organisation believed in Dabiri-Erewa’svision for the commission, and confident in her ability to actualise it.
“We in NIDO are ready to work with her towards harnessing theenormous resources of Nigerians in the Diaspora for national development. “We are conscious of the enormous responsibilities on hershoulders as the pioneer chairperson of the commission, but we know she can do it. “We trust her, and we want her to make sure that thecommission is not only Diaspora-centered, but has a solid foundation.
“When members of the Diaspora are fully engaged in the runningof the commission, they will do whatever it takes for it to succeed. “So, she should not succumb to political pressure to workwith people who have no capacity or knowledge of Diaspora affairs,” he said. Meanwhile, the Nigerian News agency hasreported that The Senate on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Mrs Abike
Dabiri-Erewa as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Commission.
The confirmation followed a report on the screening of thenominee for Senate’s approval presented by Sen. Rose Oko (PDP-Cross River) at plenary, presided over by President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that PresidentMuhammadu Buhari appointed Dabiri-Erewa as the head of the commission on Nov. 6, 2018. The Senate at plenary, on Nov. 21, 2018, considered PresidentBuhari’s request and referred it to its Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisations for further legislative action.
Moving the motion, Oko, who is the Chairman of the committee,said the nominee was interviewed and received explanations regarding her qualifications, experience, competence and integrity to assume the position. ”In the course of carrying out this assignment, the committeewas guided by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic if Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
”The committee after a critical scrutiny of the curriculumvitae and other accompanying documents of the nominee and haven been satisfied about her integrity, exposure, suitability, competence and experiences in politics and public service, found Dabiri-Erewa as fit and proper person for appointment as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission,” she said.
The senator said on behalf of the six-member committee,Dabiri-Erewa, who was presently the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, was considered suitable for the appointment. Some of the lawmakers, who contributed on the floor, alsobacked the appointment.
Among the lawmakers who spoke were: Gbenga Ashafa(APC-Lagos) Binta Masi-Garba (APC-Adanawa) Ike Ekweremadu (PDP-Enugu) and Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano). However, Ekweremadu reiterated the need to create aboard of directors of the commission in order to separate the office of the chairman from the chief executive officer and Gaya also corroborated the need to create the board.
In her response, the committee chair, Oko, explained that nomember of the board of the commission had either been appointed by the executive or sent to the Senate for confirmation. When the report was put on a voice vote by the SenatePresident, Dr Saraki, the legislators unanimously adopted it.
Saraki, who congratulated Dabiri-Erewa, wished her asuccessful tenure in office. NAN reports that Dabiri-Erewa hailed from Ikorodu LocalGovernment Area of Lagos. Born on Oct. 11, 1962, the presidential aide had Bachelors of Arts (English) 1983, Post Graduate degree (Mass Communication) 1986 and Masters of Science (Mass Communication) 1987.
She also obtained a professional certificate from JohnKennedy School of Government, Harvard University, U.S.A. in June 2002. Dabiri-Erewa, who had her youth service with NAN from 1983 to1984, contested and was elected on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as member, House of Representatives for two terms from 2003 to 2011.