A fire has no defined path so beware of fireworks…Ena E. Orugbo
It is established that patients with underlying conditions are more susceptible to fatal outcomes from COVID-19 infection. The workspace related dispute between the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Patani and the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa is fueled by underlying conditions. Firstly, the dearth of synergy has not been declared a national pandemic. Secondly, the significance of NIDCOM to economic vitality and global relevance is underestimated. Thirdly, Abike Dabiri’s professional constituency, the fourth estate never forgets. Fourthly, ingratitude denies others of much-needed help and lastly, COVID-19 calls for empathy and resource optimisation.
Uwa Suleiman, the spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy released this statement. “Abike Dabiri crossed the line. Her vituperations had nothing to do with office space. The speed, sequence and nature of her allegations leaves discerning mind wondering. How did we go from office space to qualifications and handshakes to hatred and disrespect for the female gender in a heartbeat?” Proverbs 26:20a says where no wood is, there the fire goeth out. Dr. Patani is brilliant and vibrant. He was able to dexterously allay fears linking 5G to Coronavirus. However, this is not about Dr. Patani but Buhari’s legacy and empathy for an office-less NIDCOM.
The setting up of NIDCOM was a masterstroke for the Buhari led administration. In 2019, Nigeria received $17.5 billion approximately ₦6.7 trillion in diaspora remittances. It is inconceivable that the operational efficiency of NIDCOM is not a national priority. The current Chief Executive Officer of NIDCOM made a name while anchoring Newsline on national television. She has also maintained a clean slate in politics. COVID-19 has stretched the demands of NIDCOM’s services and headlines do not lie. China maltreating Nigerians, Nigerian for sale in Lebanon, a woman gives birth on Dubai flight evacuating 265 Nigerians, the United States calls for an independent inquiry into Akinwumi Adesina. Really! Palliatives and intergovernmental collaboration ought to be at its peak.
The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary concern of government, section 14 subsections 2b of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution. A few countries such as Israel have a dedicated ministry of diaspora affairs and 75 percent of 18 million Lebanese live overseas. An architectural masterpiece or temporary office at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja for NIDCOM is a national priority not luxury. National Geographic magazine brands diaspora Filipinos visiting home as “The New Heros”. Nigeria is in dire need of heroes with global stature. Superman and Wonder Woman are foreign characters. Posterity is gender-neutral and deemphasizes creed. The differentiator is the moment to rage or love. Love glows.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), an agency under the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy deserves a commendation for assisting NIDCOM. NIDCOM must reciprocate by weighing its comeback strategy and adopting creativity. In 2019, Rwanda’s economic growth exceeded 10 percent and was ranked 29th in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. In Rwanda, women make up 60 percent of lawmakers and 50 percent of cabinet members. Take it to the bank; women are the catalyst for inclusive and rapid development. The spat between the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy and the Chief Executive Officer of NIDCOM is debilitating. It was Rahm Emanuel who said; never let a good crisis go to waste. COVID-19 offers a rare window to close ranks. NIDCOM is a brilliant idea, national priority and requires a stimulating workstation to deliver CHANGE offshore.
Dr. Enameguolo Orugbo