In a recent gathering, Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, extended a call to Nigerians residing abroad, urging them to actively contribute to the “Renewed Hope Agenda” under President Bola Tinubu’s administration. Mrs. Tinubu also delivered a message of hope to Nigerian youths, encouraging them to place trust in the current government’s commitment to delivering the fruits of democracy and meeting their fundamental needs.

As reported by the United Nations, in 2022, 26,400 Nigerian citizens sought asylum overseas, with 27,000 Nigerian citizens receiving refugee status and protection within the same year.

This call to action was made during the New York 2023 Nigeria Economic Growth and Trade Summit, held under the theme “Stemming Migration Flows by Providing Basic Needs.” Organized by the Nigerian Governors’ Wives’ Forum on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the summit aimed to address the challenges associated with migration.

Mrs. Tinubu pointed out that while migration offers fresh opportunities and experiences, it also carries inherent risks and challenges, such as the phenomenon of brain drain. Brain drain, wherein highly skilled individuals leave their home countries in search of supposedly greener pastures abroad, remains a concern for numerous African nations, depriving them of essential expertise and talents necessary for sustainable growth.

The First Lady emphasized the need for communities to work towards creating conditions that enable people to prosper, including providing access to quality education, fostering an environment conducive to job creation, and developing local industries that generate viable economic opportunities. Additionally, she stressed the importance of revitalizing the healthcare sector to ensure accessible basic healthcare services, improved healthcare conditions, and robust social support systems that discourage migration driven by health concerns.

Mrs. Tinubu introduced the “Renewed Hope Initiative,” a recently launched effort aimed at improving the lives of families. The initiative encompasses agriculture, education, economic empowerment, health, and social investment, with a focus on women and youth, who constitute a significant portion of the population. Recognizing that youths account for 70% of the population and women represent 49.6%, Mrs. Tinubu expressed her belief that empowering these demographics, in conjunction with creating an enabling environment, would gradually reverse the negative trend of migration.

She also called upon the wives of governors to recognize their pivotal roles as leaders in driving sustainable change within their communities. Collaboration with government agencies, Mrs. Tinubu stressed, is essential to complement and support the enactment of laws that protect human rights and promote equal opportunities. Policy reforms encouraging skilled individuals to return home after acquiring education and experience abroad were identified as a key strategy to reverse the brain drain phenomenon.

Mrs. Tinubu acknowledged the commendable efforts of international agencies, diaspora individuals, and the private sector in Nigeria’s development. She proposed that forums like the one in question could foster diaspora engagement and establish channels for Nigerians living abroad to contribute to the nation’s progress through investments, knowledge sharing, and collaborations aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of brain drain.

The First Lady concluded by urging Nigerians to foster a positive narrative, celebrate their cultural heritage and national achievements, and instill a sense of pride in Nigeria. She expressed optimism about Nigeria’s impending economic recovery and encouraged the nation’s youth to embrace patience and resilience as they work collectively to build a brighter and better Nigeria.

The event saw the participation of over 12 wives of governors, including those from Oyo State, Ogun, Imo, Gombe, Lagos State, Borno, and Kogi.