A delegate of Nigerians in Diaspora, Asia, at the National Conference on Tuesday urged Nigeria to emulate Singapore’s development model in her strive for economic development.
Dr Jonathan Obaje, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Urah Health, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on in Abuja.
Obaje said one of the Singapore’s development models Nigeria needed to emulate was human capital development which made the country the third richest nation in the world.
The delegate said the country should not be so concerned with resource control but how to enhance the level of capacity of its citizens and the education of her children.
He said that Singapore as a country was rated the third richest nation in the world in spite of the fact that it has no any mineral resources, not even water to drink.
“The issue of resource control that is so hot in this country should not be so. It is not how much natural resources you have; it is the development of the human capital, the brain that makes the different.
“Otherwise Singapore wouldn’t have been anywhere today in the whole world because it has no single mineral resources,” Obaje said.
The delegate said for Nigeria to curb the problem of unemployment her citizen, must be trained in diverse areas in order to be useful to the society.
He said there was near zero unemployment level in Singapore, as students without good results for university admission were being trained on what would get them employed.
“Everybody is very useful in the society from the taxi drivers to the cleaners; you have to go for training before you will be allowed to practice.
“So everybody is happy to do what they are doing for the society, everybody may not be gifted to go to the university but everybody is very important and employed.
“We should introduce a situation where everybody is useful from farming to gardening, mechanic workshop and restaurant. People should get training, be certified and become useful.
“In Singapore, if you don’t have any training you cannot run a restaurant or be a taxi-driver,” he said.
Obaje also said there was need for Nigeria to also practice the principle of `meritocracy’ which had made Singapore a stable and secured country.
The delegate said that Singapore was one of the most stable and secured country in the whole where in middle of the night, a woman or child could go out because emphasised was on meritocracy.
“Just like Nigeria, Singapore has different culture and ethnic groups and they have quota system.
“If a position is supposed to be held by any section of the society, they will go for the most qualified person in that group. We can do the same here.
“There is no village in this country that you cannot find a PhD holder. We should practice meritocracy along with our quota system and there will be no corruption,” he said.
Obaje also stressed the need for the government to establish a commission for Nigerians in Diaspora to harness the experiences and the potential of Nigerians abroad for her development.
He said presently Nigerians in Diasporas were bringing in about $40bn into the country every month.
“The government can consolidate by making sure they have Diaspora commission where issues related to Diasporas and how to harness the experiences of the Diasporas for its development can be push through various ministries and be implemented.
“A lot of African countries are already harnessing the potential of the Diaspora but Nigeria is still sleeping,” Obaje said.