The Vice President 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, Professor Yemi Osinbajo noted that the Diaspora has become a huge platform for several nations to leverage for the realization of their national developmental aspirations.
“ 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.’’, the Vice President said
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, however, disclosed specifically that “in the power sector, the administration’s aim, is 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.
Professor Osinbajo 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 the agriculture sector, government, he noted, 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, Professor Osinbajo disclosed that the government intends to give the textile and garment factories a new lease of life in the shortest possible time.
He further promised investments 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.
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.
Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, who chaired 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.
He urged them to key into government’s effort at creating a new Nigeria.
In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, 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.