‘We’re eager to come home, invest’ – Nigerians in US

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A cross-section of U.S.-based Nigerian professionals at the inauguration of the Nigerian-American Business Forum in Florida

A group of accomplished Nigerian professionals in the U.S. have expressed their eagerness to come home and invest in the Nigerian economy to fast–track the development of the country.

Some of the professionals who spoke at the inauguration of the Nigerians-American Business Forum at Florida, said they were determined to use their wealth of experience to develop their fatherland.

They said many of them started out from Nigeria where they had free world-class education and were able to compete and succeed on the global stage, adding it is now time to give back to their country.

The forum inaugurated several work groups tasked with fashioning out practicable solutions to  some of the challenges currently militating against the development of the country.

The infrastructure and technology work group was constituted by professionals within America’s Fortune 500 Corporation, with expertise in engineering, information technology, architecture, electrical power and modern agriculture infrastructure, among others.

A member of the group, Mr Gboyega Aladegbami, said: “We have been doing great things in America and now, we want to transfer our expertise back home”.

“I am in charge of Smart Cities in Los Angeles; if I can do it for Los Angeles, I can do it for Nigeria.

“We have to change the narratives about Nigeria; we are ready to partner with the Nigerian Government”.

President of the U.S.-based forum, Mr Kenneth Shobola, said the group could take on any world-class building, engineering and technology project in Nigeria, including road construction.

Mr Kenneth Shobola, President, Nigerian-American Business Forum speaking at the inauguration of the forum at Tampa, Florida

Shobola, particularly, urged the Nigerian Government to utilise the group’s expertise for the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, saying it has been under construction since he was young.

“We have our Diaspora eager to come home. Most of us here are comfortable and don’t need to come home but Nigeria is our home,” he said.

The Health and Business Development group comprised of world-class experienced medical professionals with expertise in radiation therapies, cancer pharmacotherapeutics and telemedicine, among others.

NAN reports that Pharmacotherapy is therapy using pharmaceutical drugs, as distinguished from therapy using surgery, radiation, movement, or other modes.

Dr Oluyemi Badero, one of America’s best cardiologists, bemoaned the many ill-equipped and abandoned healthcare projects in Nigeria, saying they are offering their talents for the benefits of Nigeria.

“We have been called to different countries, we are ready to do it in Nigeria. For the past five years, there is no month that we are not in Nigeria; Nigeria is littered with under-equipped hospitals.

“We are not looking for jobs, don’t hire us. Just employ our experience to build the country’s health sector.

“We just want to make Nigeria better if we see committed leadership to limit the number of Nigerians who go outside the country for healthcare.

“They come to me and I make money but I prefer the money to stay back in Nigeria. Healthcare is a right,” he said.

Dr Richards Afonja, a specialist in bone marrow and peripheral blood stem transplantation, said: “every year, more than 300 Nigerians come to him in the U.S. for cancer treatments but 50 per cent was wrong diagnosis”.

Other members of the group said they would love to come home and make a difference but craved for the enabling environment for them to offer their expertise.

Similarly, the Economic and Finance group was saddled with the essential task of being a link between the forum and intending investors who want to do business in Nigeria.

With established partners in the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry and Fidelity Bank, among others, the group, as Diaspora, seek to be relevant developmental partners to Nigeria.

A member of the group, Dr Remi Duyile, said Nigeria was a fertile economy adding, it had what it takes in terms of natural and human resources to fund its development.

Duyile said: “If we are all expecting U.S., China to do it for us, we are deceiving ourselves. Nigeria’s development must be internal – by Nigerians.

Mr Ike Okeke, owner of Superior Pharmaceutical Ltd., a leading importer and distributor of pharmaceutical in Nigeria, said investing in Nigeria was paramount because Nigeria would always be home.

“I want to make a difference in the lives of young Nigerians and our economy, create employment and make a dent in the spread of fake and substandard drugs and the preventable loss of lives caused by it.”

Okeke said he was motivated to register 100 products in the next five years and show leadership in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry.

Dr Gerald Muforo, a member of the Social Responsibility group, said Nigerian professionals had acquired a lot of expertise in the U.S. and were working tirelessly to impact on their fatherland.

Ms Emelia Orubele, a member of the group, said: “We can’t solve all the problems of Nigeria but with our expertise, we can do a lot to get great results”. (NAN)

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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