Bring them Home – Nigerian Knowledge Workforce! (PART I)

Bring them Home – Nigerian Knowledge Workers (NKW) – Worldwide! The Nigerian dream, vision, mission and Enterprise Agenda does not need 160 million people to realise and deliver …

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Chris-UwajeBring them Home – Nigerian Knowledge Workers (NKW) – Worldwide! The Nigerian dream, vision, mission and Enterprise Agenda does not need 160 million people to realise and deliver the mission critical assignment of 21st Century development. No. We only need a few, three million (3 million) smart hot-heads and thinking & creative mindset to take us to the promise land and seat on the cerebral table of committee of nations.

Destiny says, we can’t all be smart, but we can all drink from the wealth of our patriotic knowledge, embedded in just a few, to enable us smash the world knowledge Olympics record. Yes we must! It is a fundamental task that must be done and with accelerated dispatch. However, it is significant to emphasize that the concept of bringing them home is not just physical but linking and connecting with the Diaspora Knowledge worldwide – irrespective of where they are and reside. The Home runs will be left to and dictated by constructive circumstances, opportunities and competitiveness passion.

Bring them Home – Nigerian Knowledge workers in the Diaspora. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Dr. Adeniji, Mr. Peter Obi, Prof. Emmanuel Aniebonam, Prof. Bolaji Aluko – to mention but a few – are key among indicators of the enormous Nigerian knowledge resources wasting abroad ( and contributing to the development of other nations) and represent a significant Roadmap on how to strategically prepare for the 21st Century Knowledge Olympiad. The Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) in 2001 embarked on a major project of re-connecting with Nigerian Knowledge Resources abroad, by mounting the first Nigerian Information Technology Summit at George Washington University in Washington DC. USA. This digital knowledge adventure was what has today led to and emerged as the Nigeria Diaspora Day – now celebrated every 25th Day of July each Year. Not only that, it has also led to the establishment of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission by the Federal Government.

However, the above is just a tip of the ice berg of the mission critical assignment that a nation such as Nigeria – the single largest concentration of people of African decent under the universe – is expected to undertake and accomplish. Now that we have established the Ministry of Communications Technology (what a name!), perhaps the greatest assignment it should accomplish as part of its mandate is to embark on the reversing the Technology

Brain Drain (TBD) and creating a knowledge multiplayer model for coordinated and sustainable development.

Numbers speak indeed!  Reliable estimate has it that there may be more that 10 Million Nigerians living outside Nigeria – around the world. It is amazing that over the years, our delegated Ambassadors have been unable to collate the real figure! How long do we have to wait to know? However, what we do know is that, currently, there are 1.15 Million Nigerians in the United States (Last US Census) There are 45,000 Nigerian Medical doctors in the 50 States of USA.

There are over 15,000 Full Time Nigerian Professors and another 10,000 academic staff of Nigerian extraction in US higher institutions (Universities and colleges). There are over 15,000 Nigerian pharmacists, 28,000 Nigerian nurses, and 7,000 Nigerian lawyers in the US. There are over 174,000 Information Technology (IT) Specialists of Nigerian descent in the US, with most of them in telecommunications, Helpdesk Support, Programming, Database Admin., Software Project Management, and general application development.

For Nigeria to survive the emerging serious impact of IT, be relevant and benefit from the immense opportunities provided by Information Society, she must build a formidable army of Software CODE WARRIORS in preparation for the fierce competition of the global knowledge industry. Above all, she must take some high risks to net high gains.

The major IT race this century (as far as developing countries are concerned) will be determined, demonstrated and won or lost in the software Domain. Therefore, converging our global knowledge resources in Software workforce becomes a strategic imperative for success. We must design a Grand Master-Plan (GMP) to harness and bring our knowledge base in the Diaspora back home. Perhaps, the best way to do this is to start a massive establishment and deployment of “Resident Knowledge Parks” nation wide – knowing that nothing short of a National knowledge re-construction (NKR) will sanitise this monster-creature identifiable with the big letter ‘N’! (Naija?)

But at least, clustering residential knowledge parks where investors and operation are granted a 5-10 year “Income and Company Tax-fee” incentive will be a good start.  Considering the fact that the task of this write-up is to share knowledge across the board, the following information was delivered by Goubadia Oswald and sourced from FORTUNE Website on an article on Technology, titled

“Reverse Brain Drain” written by Erven Brown and David Kirkpatrick as served below http://www.fortune.com/fortune/careers/articles

Reversing Technology Brain Drain: Foreign-born techies head home as they lose their jobs–and work visas.“Tech executives have plenty to worry about. Stocks in the dumps. PC sales at a crawl. Layoffs from San Jose to Austin. And then there’s the people problem: the reverse brain drain. With tech entering the third year of its slump, a significant number of foreign-born engineers who flocked to America in the ’90s are heading home, either by choice or, increasingly, because they’ve been laid off and have lost their work visas. Take Rama Velpuri. The Indian-born engineer is a U.S. citizen with a degree from Louisiana State, and he spent the ’90s working at Oracle. But when he started his own software firm, Oramasters, he decamped for Hyderabad, India. There he runs his company for only $30,000 a month (including payroll for his 25 employees) and pays $1,000 a month for a five-bedroom house in Hyderabad’s tony Jubilee Hills (complete with three maids, a chauffeur, and a gardener).

There’s plenty of evidence that thousands of less lucky foreigners have been forced to leave the U.S. too. Thom Stohler, a lobbyist for the American Electronics Association, points out that the number of temporary work visas, known as H-1Bs, has dropped from more than 163,000 in 2001 to a projected 90,000 in 2002. Girish Gaitonde, CEO of Xoriant, an IT services firm in San Jose, says he employed 400 H-1B workers in 2000 but has only 125 today. This trend has begun to hunt Nigerians in Diaspora and something must be done at home to prepare how to respond to the surge of Home-comers this century!  Least we forget, the next wave of the digital revolution points to the emerging culture of e-nationalities and digital-colonies!

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