Head of Nigerian mission in the Scandinavia, Ambassador Godknows Igali brought a great sense of hope and pride to Nigerians residing in Finland during a recent town hall meeting that took place at the Helsinki Hilton Hotel auditorium. The meeting was well attended by Nigerians from many works of life. The introduction round revealed a row call of professionals from cleaners to high tech experts, engineers, and media specialists, and so on.
This was the first time Nigerians resident in Finland collectively had a feeling that there is a functional Nigerian embassy in the Scandinavia. In the past when one talks about the embassy, Nigerians always react with the cynical question "which embassy; do we have an embassy"? But after listening to the new ambassador, a career diplomat who was in Finland to present his credentials to the President of Finland, and used the opportunity to meet with Nigerian subjects, one had the feeling that at last we can say that the future looks bright for Nigerians in Finland because they now have an ambassador who knows exactly what an ambassador should be doing.
In his address he enjoined Nigerians in Finland to stay together, and be there for one another. He also pleaded with Nigerians never to forget home, to try as much as possible to support families at home.
He went on to explain the Present governments seven point agenda, the seven critical areas the government wants to address, and urged everyone to think of how they can finds ways to contribute to its success, using their connections in Finland and their know- how.
Dr Igali described the Scandinavian countries of which Finland is one as having the highest standard of living in the world.
Finland according to him has achieved a lot in terms of human rights, sustainable development, and other issues.
These according to him are the aspirations the Yar'Adua administration hence the articulated seven- point agenda of the government and there is a lot for us to learn from the Scandinavian countries.
Ambassador Igali on assuming office made it his first assignment to meet with Nigerian communities in all the four countries of the Scandinavia ÔÇô Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. This is the way it should be, the ÔÇśservant ÔÇô leader' way. To prove that it was not just big and empty talk as usual, the ambassador's dexterity in networking and consulting is already yielding positive results. On the 18th of the month of October, the first high-powered economic cooperation meeting will be organised by the Bayelsa State Government's Investment forum lead by the state governor himself, His Excellency Timipre Sylva in collaboration with two major Finnish investment organizations Finpro and Finnfund. If Ambassador Igali could pull this one within a few months of his assuming office, I bet there are much more to come in the near future. In the past I have tried to convince many Nigerian government official I had the opportunity to interact with both at home and in the diasporas about the untapped opportunities for quality technology acquisition that is here in Finland, but none of them made a move. It is also sad that years after the last Nigerian government sealed a bilateral agreement with Finland, no Nigerian authority have taken full advantage of that until now. Thanks to Ambassador Godknows Igali. I am convinced that this his move will open a gateway for more to come. It will provide a means of finding lasting solusion to a lot of problems especially in the power sector.
Alternative power technology is an important solution for Nigeria's power problem, and Finland has the technology to deal with that. ABB Finland has developed one of the best wind generated power system, and I would not be surprised if in the near future there will be a line-up of giant propellers gently turning in wind power along the Nigerian coast in Bayelsa state.
Ikechukwu Ude-Chime is a Media expert based in Finland