NIGERIAN DIASPORA IN GERMANY DISAPPOINTED WITH NIGERIA TOURISM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION: PRESIDENT OF NIDOE GERMANY CALLS ON MEMBERS AND BUSINESS COMMUNITY TO COOPERATE
The World’s Leading Travel Trade Show popularly known as “ITB” Berlin, Germany kicks off on Wednesday 5th March 2014 in Berlin, the capital city of Germany. The Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) headed by the Director General Mrs. Sally Mbanefo is expected to lead a strong Nigerian Delegation to the event where Nigeria will be hosting their stand (if this information reaching us is correct).
On behalf of the Nigerian In Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Germany, an organization of Nigerian professionals’ construct for the facilitating of business, trade and investment opportunities between Germany and Nigeria as part of our aims and objectives, we are totally disappointed with the planning and mobilization for the participation of Nigeria at the world trade extravaganza in Germany. In less than 48 hours to the one of the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show, there is virtually a total promotional and information blackout on the participation of Nigeria both in the media and within the business circle, especially the SMEs in Germany, who although may not fall within the ITB core business clients but are the most important German investment engine that may be interested in investing in Nigeria. Apart from attempts made by some well-meaning individuals from Nigeria to organize a round table talk with the DG NTDC during the event, there has not been any official information on the participation of Nigerian or mobilization from the part of the Embassy of Nigeria in Berlin, Germany less than 48 hours to the official kickoff. All effort made to reach NTDC proved abortive.
NIDO approached NTDC in a letter dated 4.06.2013 requesting for cooperation for the NIDO Germany National Business Summit on Logistics, Trade and investment that took place from 8-9 November 2013 in collaboration with the Business department of the city of Dortmund Germany, but received no answer. This could have been a perfect opportunity to prepare the tourism and business community for the upcoming event. Nigeria and NTDC could have maximized all the business and investment potentials had they fully mobilized the German business community (SME) and also involved the Diaspora group to be part of this mobilization and facilitation process of German firms interested in the hospitality industries. Moreover, had a little due diligence been invested, programs to attract German hospitality industries to Nigerian stand could have been suggested.
As has always been the case, just recently a visit of high powered Nigerian government delegations to Germany on trade and investment mission took place without involving the Diaspora population. Ironically the same Nigerian professionals are being invited thereafter by our German partners, employees and institutions to make a professional assessment of such visitation and eventual participation in such project in Nigeria. A classic example of this disconnect is a case of the Nigerian delegation from National Planning Commission Abuja led by Mr. Bassey Okon Akpanyung, from the Ministry of Planning on the invitation of one of Germany´s leading Stiftung (NGOs).
In a letter to His Excellency Abdu Usman Abubakar, Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, dated 27.06.2013, members of NIDO Germany humbly requested his Excellency to seek for clarification from Mr. Bassey Okon Akpanyung why his team chose to be hosted in Hamburg by an African community after their fact finding visit without finding it necessary to invite or involve NIDO. This is a typical example of the policy summersault. This trend among some government authorities in Nigeria can be seen as a total disregard to NIDO and to the Nigerian professionals living in Germany in general. While NIDO welcome such meaningful visits, but called for a change in policy of our government. We officially and humbly request His Excellency to use his good office to lobby for formal inclusion of meeting with Nigerian professionals and business people by visiting politicians and top government officials to such fact finding missions to Germany in future protocol process. This will give both the Nigerian professionals and visiting personalities the opportunity to rub minds together on challenging national issues. Our government should appreciate the fact that Nigerians in Diaspora can defend their interests more than the Germans when the pro and contra of such visit finds their way to the media and public discourse. We are stakeholders, and our contributions to National development is also very important. There is no doubt that something is seriously going wrong somewhere, especially with such institutions responsible for a flow of such vital investment information.
On one hand the Nigerian government expects patriotism and the promotion of a better image for Nigeria by Nigerians in Diaspora but on the other hand the Government and its officials wantonly displays a total disregard for the same policy they work so hard to establish. This paradox is wholly captured by Hon. Collins Nweke, the Ex-Chairman, Board of Trustees, Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Europe on his Diaspora Bill debate. “The absence of politics of conscience sometimes brings the Nigerian politics as incoherent! Nigeria’s politics around recognizing and investing in its Diaspora for the good of the nation was hailed as an ideal for Africa… Indeed, countries like the Republic of Ghana, Benin, Lebanon, Mali, Somalia, Ethiopia and Tunisia have full Ministries for the Diaspora in varying shapes and forms. Nigeria was being studied as a result of the ingenuity of its model, which was mooted in the year 2000 under the Obasanjo administration and supported by successive administrations.” He summarized.
Having pointed out the above, I called on all NIDO members to turn out in mass and to attend the ITB especially those interested in the hospitality industries. It is not only our patriotic responsibility, but by coming out with our German business partners, we will be helping towards bringing about the much needed investment and business partnerships between Nigeria and Germany, which could further guarantee economic expansion in the country, guarantee peace and security and invariably set Nigeria once again on the right economic path.
The goal of this executive and indeed NIDO Germany is to continue to work using their talents and professional sway in pursuant of personal, business and National development. Nigerian-German business partnership is a very important and a unique one to be ignored, hence the need to use every opportunity to showcase our values and tourism potentials to the world in-spite of these challenges and irregularities on the part of our government and its agencies.
NIDO Germany will continue to lead a strong lobby group, using our individual and collective skills and past experiences in promoting business, trade and investment opportunities for both countries.
Hon. Kenneth Gbandi
President NIDO Germany