Despite her enormous security and developmental challenges and the criminal activities of some of her nationals abroad, Nigeria abounds in huge human capital scattered all over the world, contributing immensely to the development of their host countries.
That was the observation of Dr. Ebun Sonaiya, a pioneer health management organiser, while speaking as chairman on the public presentation of a book, The World at Their Feat: Amazing Stories of 100 Nigerian Diaspora Ambassadors, in Lagos, recently, written by Mr. Folu Koyi, a veteran journalist and biographer.
The book is divided into seven parts. Part 1, “Global Icons,” features five personalities holding international appointments, including Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, first female director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Part 2, “Global Headliners,” has 14 Nigerians who have been in the news in recent times for some spectacular achievements of global relevance, and include Prof. Oluyinka Olutoye, a renowned paediatrician recently cited in a stunning medical feat, Chimamanda Adichie, the award-winning novelist, and Lt. Victor Agunbiade, a hero of honesty in the service of the U.S. Navy.
In Part 3, “Trail-Blazers,” the author chronicles the achievements of 38 of the country’s nationals who have either set a record in their various disciplines or recorded some other spectacular breakthroughs. They include Emmanuel Ohuabunwa, Victor Olalusi and Hallowed Olaoluwa, all of whom set academic records in their various fields of study in different universities abroad.
“Professional Leaders,” the title of Part 4, comprises 29 subject personalities who stand out in their various callings. The uniqueness of this section is that it includes politicians and government appointees in the UK, U.S., and other countries who are spotlighted as a collective.
Under “Biden Their Time,” for instance, the author writes about some Nigerians recently appointed into key positions by US President Joe Biden, including Mr. Adewale Adeyemo, the first African in the US to be named Deputy Treasury Secretary, and Ms Enoh Ebong, acting director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
Eight global personalities are listed in Part 5 as “Global Champions.” They include Zuriel Oduwole, the teenager who is globally renowned for her girl-child advocacy over which she has met with many world leaders, and Anthony Joshua, the world heavyweight boxing champion.
Part 6, “Entrepreneurial Leaders,” is led by Mr. Adebayo Ogunlesi, a corporate attorney and investment banker whose company was reported recently to have successfully negotiated the purchase of London’s Gatwick Airport, London City Airport and Edinburgh Airport, and has been involved in other strategic investments across the globe.
Recognising the potential in youths as tomorrow’s leaders, the author devotes Part 7 to “Rising Stars,” in which he spotlights 18 bright young men and women in their 20s and 30s whose brilliant academic records are already setting them on the paths to stardom. So also are six pre-teens, titled “Wonder Kids,” who are already recording spectacular feats in various fields, including academics, sports and social reform crusade.
In a separate section, “Posthumous Recognitions,” the author pays tribute to two Nigerians, Messrs John Ogbu and Kayode Fahm, for their sterling contributions to knowledge while they were alive.
The last section of the book, the “Appendix,” contains short profiles of 50 other Nigerians whom the author says are no less important than the 100 subject personalities, but who could not be treated as such for space constraints.
The event was held virtually via Zoom and had in attendance many distinguished Nigerians, including elder statesman and Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who described the author as a quiet yet resourceful and creative writer whose type is an asset to a developing country like ours, and Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, who wrote the foreword to the book.
The 265-page book was reviewed by Mr. Adekunle Tuyo, a lawyer, and unveiled by Dr. Femi Oduyemi, a California-based city planner, public policy advocate and entrepreneur.