POLICY AGENDA FOR NiDPAC
U.S. President Joe Biden has set a goal of establishing a foreign policy agenda that involves partnering with US diaspora communities to affect change in their home countries. The Biden administration wants to ensure the American people understand and benefit from the nation’s role in the world. The United States and Nigeria might be able to help each other on some of these fronts.
Just as the United States is a global powerhouse whose domestic ailments are felt far and wide, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy whose infirmities directly impact sub-Saharan Africa, and ultimately the United States. When Nigeria’s leadership is lacking, the effects reverberate far across its borders.
Most U.S. and international attention on Nigeria focus on its struggle with worsening security crisis particularly, the Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and banditry. These issues are really symptoms of the underlying ills that its leaders have either exacerbated or struggled to address.
All true friends and partners of Nigeria should collaborate to craft solutions to Nigerian issues including:
- (a) Elections and governance challenges;
- (b) Intercommunal violence;
- (c) The economy;
- (d) Militancy and oil theft;
- (e) Human rights/humanitarian challenges;
- (f) Police brutality;
- (g) Corruption.
On the US end, it is important to realistically assess US-Nigeria relations such as:
- (h) Diplomatic assignments to Nigeria;
- (i) U.S-Nigeria Trade and Investment;
- (j) Cybercrime and repatriation of looted funds.
Globally, challenges including:
- (k) Coronavirus vaccine access and distribution; as well as (l) the collapse in the global price of oil must also be tackled.
An open, realistic, and constructive conversation about the items listed above must be deliberated for any significant progress to be achieved.
In the United States, following various protests, advocacy groups have converted their street activism to the ballot box. As a professional Nigerian Diaspora, we are converting our activism to advocacy – thus the birth of NiDPAC. As the new U.S. administration determines its approach to Nigeria, the issues highlighted above are a few areas where the two countries could not only work together but also, learn from each other.
While social media and the internet have exposed some challenges of US democracy, it has also shown that the US has a system that works albeit self-perceptions of exceptionalism are no longer an option. Nigeria and the US should begin to engage as equal partners, in which each country’s government, civil society organizations and advocacy groups such as NiDPAC push each other to establish policies that respects human rights, welcomes professionalism and accountability while catering to the needs of the most vulnerable members of society.
When the United States disrespects Nigeria, it harms a partner with considerable sway in the region. Likewise, when Nigeria fails to abide by universal principles of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, it should be held accountable to the costs and consequences of such anti-democratic actions. Instead of repeating past mistakes or turning blind to devaluation of democratic principles, the United States and Nigerians of good faith should align with the Nigerian Diaspora in its call for good governance, consolidation of democracy, and human rights.
THE CONFLUENCE ALLIANCE
. . . powered by the Nigerian Diaspora Political Affairs Committee (NiDPAC)