Thank you for inviting me to this important town hall event in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am delighted to be here, in the friendly, warm, and welcoming of the City of Charlotte. My sincere gratitude to all of you for coming out to interface with me.
Some of you are here in America by choice, but the majority are not here by choice. Circumstances at home have compelled your sojourn here. But I also know this much: If your hearts were not in Nigeria, you won’t be here this evening. So, once again, I thank you for being here.
Nigeria’s Diaspora family has the capacity to catapult our nation to greatness.
In 2021 Nigeria’s foreign direct investment (FDI) was $4.8 billion. This is paltry compared to Diaspora remittances. Therefore, I see Diaspora remittances as the new normal and becoming Nigeria’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Moreover, expert assessments are indicative that with proper policy and planning, Nigerians in Diaspora could potentially remit about $60b annually; which will translate to about 14% of our total GDP.
I foresee a Diaspora role of infinite possibilities when and if our sons and daughters, elect to deploy their technology, expertise, industrial discipline, and experience, to Nigeria for national development and encourage their hosts and friends to invest in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Diaspora can help to mobilize efforts in the direction of private sector investment. Beyond your sheer financial power, your contributions also include ideas, creativity, and a diverse global network.
Our vision and mission are to give full expression to our democracy by moving our country from consumption to production.
In transforming the economy we intend to make it more productive, thus creating employment and prosperity for millions of youths, reducing poverty in the land, and addressing issues of criminality and insecurity.
Thinking through 2023 and beyond, we must think seriously about leadership that is imbued with competence, capacity, credibility, and commitment. The 4 Cs, will be required to turn Nigeria around.
We will pursue intangible assets of good governance, rule of law, and security of lives and properties; and emphasize patriotism, national interest, national morale, quality of government, political will, and character, which are all complimentary to the other assets.
We will ensure that we have these assets in place and stress asset optimization.
We will tackle insecurity robustly, through an aggressive increase in personnel and equipment and inclusive training of operatives in our security agencies.
We will tweak the security architecture, by offering each arm or agency lead in areas where they have a comparative advantage.
We intend to lay special emphasis on critical infrastructure, especially Power, to ensure a clear measurable increase of 200% of today’s generation, transmission and distribution, within the shortest possible time through a public-private partnership.
We will pursue aggressively modalities for raising the national internet penetration, as well as the increased contribution of ICT to overall economic growth and aid national development.
Africa will remain the centerpiece of our foreign policy. We will improve Nigeria’s diplomatic sphere of influence via peacekeeping, trade, and investment initiatives.
We will pay particular attention to tackling Nigeria’s myriad domestic challenges, in particular improving governance and promoting national cohesion in as much as an active foreign policy critically depends on a vibrant and peaceful domestic situation.
We will rebuild Nigeria’s military power, promote economic growth, and enhance its technological prowess to improve Nigeria’s diplomatic influence in sub-regional, regional and global affairs via peacekeeping activities.
We will proactively reassert Nigeria’s leadership role in African affairs through constructive engagement, using existing sub-regional and regional forums as well as bilateral platforms for dialogue on current and emerging challenges.
We will aggressively pursue human capital development in the education and health sectors within available resources; with a view to adopting pertinent global best practices in both sectors.
We will have zero tolerance for corruption; block leakages and cut the cost of governance. Our total commitment to transparency and accountability in government business is the only credible way to achieve limited to zero corruption.
We will seek to reunite Nigeria through strict adherence to Constitutional provisions on equitable representation in Federal establishments and regenerate a sense of belonging to all citizens through inclusivity and adequate representation of women,
The review of the Constitution will be part of the overall restructuring Nigerians desire. It will entail legislative, executive, and judicial actions. Ultimately the Nigerian people will decide.
It will take only one visionary leadership and disruptive thinker for Nigeria to be put back on the right trajectory. I know that with robust diaspora support we can do it for Nigeria.
Even though the outlook seems bleak, especially with the present state of insecurity ad parlous economy, things, I am certain that with your avid prayers and contributions in both human and material terms, Nigeria will recover.
Special thanks go to Chief Johnny Obika and Dr. Ben Okwara for coordinating this event.