The incidence of fraud among Nigerians in the United States has negative consequences on the global perception of the nation and its people. In the past few weeks, Nigerians have managed to make headlines in areas of fraudulent activities, tainting the image of Nigerians and overshadowing the great contributions many Nigerians are making both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora.
We have all encountered these stories everywhere: in the news, in politics, in conversations with our friends and family, and on social media. Many of us are guilty of sharing the news and isolating ourselves from the fraudulent activities as if that somehow distinguishes us from those that choose to destroy the image of Nigeria. The problem is that each time these incidences occur, there is an assumption that becomes the dominant narrative of ALL Nigerians and determines how we are ultimately viewed.
Very rarely do we share the news of Nigerians that are doing the right thing but we are quick to forward news about our misguided brothers and sisters. This is not being disingenuous or misleading or masking the truth. We have to understand that the stories we choose to share matter in how we are perceived. The stories the media chooses to share are so fundamental to who we are but are based upon just some of the facts from our complex and beautiful lives. We are so much more, so let us change the narrative.
Next week I will be showcasing a Nigerian that emigrated to the United States 26 years ago. This young lady holds a doctorate in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and currently serves as a full Professor at one of the institutions of higher education that Forbes has described as “an elite public institution, the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor is a hotbed of innovation and home to the largest stadium in college football”. Let us not be distracted by the negativity that seems to be overshadowing the hard work of some Nigerians that are making us proud – Stay tuned.
Omobonike Odegbami serves as the Vice-Chancellor of International Programs and Global partnerships at Wayne County Community College District. She has been a community college educator for 16 years. She leads efforts to enhance the internationalization of the District and promotes numerous student-success programs on campus.
Prior to her position as Vice-Chancellor, Wayne County Community College District-Eastern Campus, she has a background in Psychology, School Psychology, Business Administration, Higher Education Administration and Community College Leadership. Her current interests include dual-enrollment as a bridge to higher education and the effects of U.S policies on international student mobility.
Odegbami serves as the Community College Knowledge Chair for the Michigan Association of International Educators. She was one of the 2014 Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence awardees. In 2017, she was awarded the Best Educator by Kola Lounge, and in 2013, the Nigerian Reunion Committee awarded her The Nigerian Image Award for Education.