‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja –
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended Nigerians living in the United States for the exemplary roles they are playing in their different areas of endeavour, urging them to continue give back to Nigeria.
A statement by the spokesperson to the president, Femi Adesina reads in part: “Speaking Saturday at the Townhall Meeting With Nigerians In The Diaspora, in New York, President Buhari said:
“It is gratifying for me to note that many Nigerians in the USA have continued to excel in their careers leading to some being appointed into the cabinet of His Excellency President Joe Biden.
“Similarly, many have been elected/appointed into various responsible and competitive positions in the United States of America. I congratulate those who have brought honours and pride to our country. I thank and commend them for their respective successes as I equally urge them to demonstrate the highest sense of responsibilities in order that they continue to remain reference points of excellence as they serve human kind in this country.
“As always, I wish to emphasise the absolute necessity for each and every one of you to continue to remain law-abiding as you live in the United States of America and comport yourselves in such exemplary manners that should earn you the privilege of reference as good Ambassadors of Nigeria.
“In order to earn yourselves collective self-respect within the communities you live in, you must live with one another peacefully and continue to do so without sub-divisions amongst yourselves. As you may know, as a people, we shall always be stronger together.”
The President said the administration created the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to serve as a bridge between them and the country in the developmental agenda with the expectation that they will give back to the country:
“As our Diaspora Ambassadors, we expect your willingness to ‘give back’ to Nigeria some of your resources, talents, skills and global exposure in the development of our great country, Nigeria.”
He gave assurances that the government will continue to act in their interests whenever the need arises, citing recent evacuations in Libya, South Africa, and recently in Ukraine. He added that he had also approved the same in UAE and India.
The President commended them for Diaspora remittances which stood at $20billon dollars in 2021, an amount four times the Foreign Direct Investment in the same period, as well as their investments in various sectors of the Nigerian economy such as Healthcare, Agriculture, Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Housing and Real Estate, Transportation, Oil and Gas.
The President lauded Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chair of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission who coordinated the event, for her innovative programmes to bring the ambassadors closer home such as Diaspora Registration Portal, the Diaspora Mortgage Scheme and the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust (NDIT).
President Buhari reiterated the administration’s commitment to free, fair and transparent elections in 2023 as this is the only way Nigeria can continue to “set the right example for the rest of Africa and hopefully stop the recourse to unconstitutional changes of Governments in our sub-region and the rest of the African Continent.”
The representatives of Nigerians in the US who visited the President are:
An American born Nigerian, Bobby Digi Olisa, who is the current President of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, New York, co-owns an international restaurant and a medical clinic in his community. An indigene of Kaduna State, Philip H. Moses who obtained his first Degree in Geology from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1991. Lived in Minnesota, United States for 25 years now as a Mental Health practitioner, Behavior Modification Assistant with Minnesota Department of Human Services. A Professor of Global Affairs and Politics, Dr. Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, Ph.D, who was recently awarded a four-year tenure as a Fulbright Specialist Scholar under the United States Department State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in recognition of her contribution and impact in the field of higher education and international affairs.
Others include Wale Adelagunja, Chairman, Council for Global Alliance (C-Glo) which identifies appropriate business opportunities in furtherance of Continental African and Caribbean Descent in the area of Commerce, technological and infrastructural development. Dr. Rukaiya Bashir Hamidu, Born and raised in Maiduguri and Yola, she later attended St. George’s University in Grenada/New York for medical school (Doctor of Medicine Degree, First Class). Currently, she is a Gastroenterology Fellow at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Dr. Dominic Chukwuemeka Valentine Onyema, 1977 recipient of Barclays Bank International scholarship to the UWC Atlantic College in Wales in the United Kingdom. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree from the University of Lagos in Nigeria and Medical Degree from St. Georges University. He is licensed in Medicine and Surgery in New York State since 1992. He is the Founder, Owner and President of Healthwise Medical Associates.
Also, Miss Aghaeze Favour. A scholarship student at the Millersville University doing her Masters in Clinical Psychology. She graduated with Distinguished Cum Laude from Philander Smith College in 2021. Obinna Anusiem is the CEO and Founder of NGEX, a provider of Data, Marketing and Research solutions that enable clients engage and drive awareness of their products and services with customers in Nigeria and in Diaspora. Colonel Gabriel A. Isioye is assuming command of the 865th Combat Support Hospital, following his assignment as the Chief Dental Officer at the 8th Medical Brigade in Staten Island, NY.
And Dr Philip O. Ozuah, MD, PhD, is the President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine, the umbrella organization for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded researcher and award-winning educator, he also served as Professor and University Chairman of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Lieutenant Commander (Sel) Victor Agunbiade is an outstanding Naval Officer in the US Navy and has greatly impacted the mission at every assignment. He served as the Division Officer and Officer Recruiter at Navy Recruiting District, Richmond (NRD) from November 2015- July 2019 where he earned recognition as Active General Recruiter. He is currently the Reserve Program Director, Navy Recruiting Command (NRC), Millington, Tennessee. Dr Nelson Aluya, MBBS, MD is a Medical Doctor with extensive broad base training and clinical expertise in over three continents. He is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the Newark Community Health Centers. Alhaja Adenike Oyejide, BBA/MBA/MNI is a Retired New York City Government Official. By profession, she is a Forensic Accountant and a Banker. She is currently the Vice Chairman of African Advisory Council, Bronx Borough President Office, Bronx, New York.
Equally, Prof. Augustine Esogbue is a Nigerian born Professor Emeritus (NNOM) of The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta. He was a recipient of the maiden American Universities’ Scholarship Program that sent him to UCLA in 1961 where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He obtained his Ph. D. in 1968, becoming the first Black person in the world to earn a Ph. D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering/ Operations Research. Dr. Adeola Popoola is the President and Consultant, Poppy Physical Rehabilitation Consultants with Specialty Centers for the physically and mentally impaired and disabled, and remediation of pain syndromes. He had an extensive professional calling spanning 40 years, 1982-2022 in Universities across Nigeria. He was President, Nigeria in Diaspora Organization, NIDO-New Jersey.