The South West summit titled Harnessing of Diaspora Remittance For Regional Development ended in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday with resolutions to consolidate economic development through security and investment among others. The maiden event was facilitated by the Office of the Diaspora Matters headed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Femi Odere.
The diaspora focal officers in the region were encouraged to further collaborate to establish a regional diaspora office, jointly collect and document data of the South West Nigerians abroad.
At the two-day summit held between June 28-29, inputs were taken from the Governor Kayode Fayemi represented by his deputy, Mr Bisi Egbeyemi; Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Titilope Akande-Sadipe; Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa represented by Dr Yakubu Sule Bassi; Professor Bolaji Aluko, the Director General in charge of the Ekiti State Transformation, Strategy and Delivery.
Others were President of Journalists International Forum for Migration, Ajibola Abayomi; Prince Akinwale Ojomo, the CEO of the Diaspora Innovation Institute and team of scholars from the University of Ibadan led by Dr Senayon Olaoluwa, the Acting Director, Institute of African Studies and others.
Odere and other diaspora focal points officers from Ogun and Osun States all agreed that there was a need to refocus the economy to encourage more participation from the diasporans as stakeholders in the nation’s affairs.
While the JIFORM President called for strong ties with the media to boost the communication between the diasporans and the nation, consensus was reached on the general understanding of a diasporan to include Nigerians (whether students or not) who are legally or illegally living beyond the shores of the country to explore other non-money remittances such as technological knowledge, skills and talents as well as knowledge production.
Also calls were made for appropriate state, regional and national coordination of the diasporans for proper documentation based on research as the basis for credible databases.
Governments in the region were charged with creating an enabling environment for investment sustainability and decentralization of security in Nigeria through the strengthening of regional based security apparatus.
The summit also harped on technological transfer funded by the government, legislations to back diaspora activities and proper communication strategy through media engagement to strengthen to further harness and manage the potentials of South West Nigerian Diaspora for regional development.