Gov. Willie Obiano engaged Ndi Anambra in a Diaspora in a virtual conference to showcase good governance and promote socio-economic growth of the state.
The conference — Anambra Diaspora Conference 2021 with the theme: “Partnering Ndi Anambra in the Diaspora for Socio-Economic Development of Anambra State”, was the first of its kind anchored in the state.
Gov. Obiano in an address noted that the state had now delivered an International Airport and an International Conference Centre with a mission to create a socio-economic state that would attract both indigenes and foreigners alike to invest in the state.
“Anambra currently has the highest number of people living in The Diaspora, who are illustrious and we are the first state to create a Diaspora Affairs Ministry in Nigeria.’’
Gov. Obiano noted that the conference had enabled the government and the Diasporans to share ideas for the growth and stability of the state.
The Governor was represented by the Secretary to the State Governor (SSG), Prof Solo Chukwulobelu.
The wife of the state governor, Dr (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano observed that the Anambra Diasporans were strong partners of the state through remittances home.
“They should urge our people at home to vote into power a credible candidate, especially our own All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, to sustain the good work of the governor.’’
She highlighted several projects carried out by her NGO, Caring Family Initiative (CAFE) for the less privileged in the state.
“We have provided a lot of support to our people in the rural areas, who are in need and we will continue to do so.’’
Mrs. Obiano was represented by the Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Emeka Ozumba.
The Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa urged The Diasporans to be good ambassadors of their state in whichever country they resided.
“Talk good about your state and country out there in order to promote the image of Anambra and Nigeria at large.
“Anambra is the first state to create a Diaspora Affairs Ministry, which has put them on the top of the table of states that handle The Diaspora matters.
“Anambra also has Ogbunike Cave, which is the best and biggest tourist attraction in Nigeria,’’ she noted.
Dabiri-Erewa then informed them about some new projects that the Commission would soon embark on, such as; Diaspora Mortgage, Summit, Policy, and some other events that would benefit The Diasporans.
The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe enjoined the Diasporans to invest in the youths as many of them were the youths of today.
“The objective should be to invest in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). I plan to connect the Ime Obi Onitsha to the internet to make it a smart environment for the young boys and girls who come in there to browse the internet.
“Look for opportunities to partner with the state government because there are many areas to make money here in Nigeria just as the Indians and Lebanese are making it here.’’
He suggested that the conference be held quarterly for constant interaction toward the growth of the state.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture, and Tourism, Dr. Kenneth Anierobi noted the conference was initiated for purposeful engagement between the state government and The Diasporans.
“This will also serve as an avenue for the state government to receive feedback from our people abroad, identify avenues through which they can support government policies and programmes.
“Our mandate in the Ministry is to serve as a link to Ndi Anambra in the Diaspora toward actualising economic, cultural, and political development of the state.
“And our strategy in achieving this mandate will be anchored in the three key steps of engaging, enabling, and empowering people in The Diaspora as espoused by NiDCOM,’’ he said.
“We want to engage The Diaspora, particularly to locate them, know them, understand their situations, and invite them to participate in the developmental programmes of our dear state.’’
Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, President, Anambra State Association Worldwide (ASA Worldwide), commended the state government for initiating the conference.
“We are happy about the development of the state under the administration of Gov. Obiano, especially with regards to the recent delivery of the Anambra International Airport and the Conference Centre.
“We want our people to vote in the right candidate in the coming election, as we are the light of the nation and the number one in Nigeria.’’
He enjoined his fellow Diasporans to engage in “Aku Luo Uno’’ initiative, which would boost the economy of the state and empower the youth.
Dr. Uche Umeh, President of ASA Women USA, noted that the union had a long working relationship with the state government through a medical mission since 2011.
Prince Egenti, a Diasporans from the UK who was present in Awka said: “Anambra Government should have coordinators all around Europe and in other parts of the World.
“This will help to create a strong communication network between the government and The Diasporans.
“Anambra State Government should look into Diaspora Housing Initiative as this can ginger Diasporans to invest in the state, as it has been achieved in Edo and Delta States.’’
He announced that they plan to hold a conference in October, urging those wishing to attend they would help anyone interested with a visa but not flight tickets. Present at the conference include Ambassador Vivian Okeke, International Atomic Energy Agency, UN, New York, Mr. Ifediora Amobi, MD ANSIPPA, Mr. Mike Iloegbunam, ASA USA, and Dr. Chris Ikeanya ASA USA.