The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has called on Nigerians living in the Diaspora, especially those living in the developed and advanced democracies, to bring their much acquired skills to impact positively on the building of a new Nigeria under the Change Agenda of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a speech delivered at the 7th National Diaspora Conference held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday, 25thAugust 2015 – that many Nigerians living in the Diaspora know nothing about – Prof. Osinbajo noted that the Diaspora has become a huge platform for several nations to leverage for the realization of their national developmental aspirations.
The Vice President cited the experiences of India, China and Korea whose citizens abroad have contributed immensely to their phenomenal economic growth and development. He then urged Nigerians abroad to sacrifice adding that the India Diaspora would not have possibly impacted their nation without sacrifice.
Outlining some of the economic plans and policies of this administration based on the bottom-up approach, Prof. Osinbajo said government’s intervention will come in the provision of physical, infrastructure, implementation of robust economic and social policies that will provide opportunities and succor for 110 million poor people in the country.
Furthermore, he disclosed specifically that ‘’ in the power sector, the administration aims to consistently generate 5,000 megawatts of power going into first quarter of next year’’; adding that this would involve aggressively ensuring that all power related projects are speedily concluded.
He also mentioned that in the hydro-carbon industry, the administration is pursuing a long over-due reform. For instance, ‘’in the short and medium term, the NNPC would be re-organized and this has already begun as the leadership is being held accountable for revenue shortfall in past years. In agriculture sector, government would pursue self-sustenance in the production of items such as rice, wheat, cotton and therefore considerably reduce foreign exchange requirement for importation of these items as rice importation alone consumes about $4 billion.’’
While pledging massive job creation particularly for the youth, the Vice President disclosed that the government intends to give the textile and garment factories a new lease of life in the shortest possible time. He likewise promised investment in the area of infrastructure, agriculture and mining sectors which will absorb many of the qualified unemployed. In addition, he declared that government’s job creation plan will include a one meal per day programme for primary school pupils expected to create several job opportunities.
‘’ I have gone to this length to underscore the important role that Nigerians in Diaspora can play in the new Nigeria which is now under construction. It is well known that several nations of the world have tapped into the wealth of knowledge and exposure of their Diaspora mixed with those at home to build a thriving economy. India has attained its present global
status in part because of the contribution of its Diaspora.’’
At the event attended by just a handful of Diasporan Nigerians, The Vice President averred that now is the right time for Nigerians in Diaspora to make sacrifices towards contributing their quota to nation building, especially when the country is presently facing numerous obstacles and challenges.
‘’I propose that the impact the Diaspora of those nations have brought to bear would not have been possible if they were not prepared to make sacrifices. If many of them had waited for the home environment to be completely ideal, before they start to actively get involved and engaged in their home countries, they would probably still be waiting up till now.
He assured the Diaspora community of the resolve of the Buhari administration to resolutely tackle some of the numerous challenges confronting the country, emphasizing that the Federal Government is poised to take the critical steps in repositioning Nigeria towards the path of greatness again.
Amb. Babagana Kingibe, who was chair of the occasion, stressed on the need for the citizens in the diaspora to organize themselves in keeping their links to their motherland for the purpose of contributing to her development. Amb. Kingibe urged them to key into government’s effort at creating a new Nigeria.
In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Political Affairs, Office in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, commended Nigerians in the Diaspora for their individual achievements which has given the country a positive image. She stated that the objective of the Conference is strictly on harnessing the skills and expertise of the Diaspora community to address issues in critical sectors for national development.
One does wonder, however, just how exactly the message is expected to reach Nigerians in Diaspora when Diaspora Day is being held without the awareness of the people the event is meant to address. And in view of the fact that Nigerians in the Diaspora have yet again been denied any vote in the President’s recent declaration, it seems that the aim of the administration is the continuous exploitation of the diasporans that yearly plough billions of Naira into the Nigerian economy.