As part of his eight-day tour of eight cities, in three countries , Mr Peter Obi was in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday and there he told Nigerians that it will take only one visionary leadership and disruptive thinker for Nigeria to be put back on the right trajectory.
At a dinner/lecture event where he spoke on the topic – Active Engagement by Nigeria Diaspora in Capacity Building and Civic Leadership In Nigeria, Mr Obi said he is certain that with robust diaspora support, his government can fix Nigeria.
“As we explore ways and means of tapping in on technology transfer from the Diaspora, we will also explore ways of reversing the enormous brain drain that has been debilitating for our country.
“Like India, Nigeria should be able to tap her huge Diaspora human resource to ensure technology transfer home. We will trigger every known technological and knowledge transfer initiator. Nigeria’s brain drain will be turned into brain gain.
“I see Diaspora remittances as the new normal and becoming Nigeria’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). In 2021 Nigeria’s foreign direct investment (FDI) was a paltry $4.8 billion compared to Diaspora remittances.
“First, with $20 billion in remittances in 2021, Nigeria ranks 6th behind the top five recipient countries. Expert assessments are indicative that given the huge Nigerians in the Diaspora population, the country has the potential of receiving from the Diaspora, annual remittances of about $60b, which translates to about 14% of our total GDP.
“Most of you are not here by choice. If things were better at home, you won’t be here. But your role remains important in nation building.
“The Nigeria Diaspora has the capacity and therefore, must have a voice. By 2027 elections, Nigeria Diaspora must have a voice via absentee ballots.
“Nigerian Diaspora, represent a broad segment of Nigeria’s human development capital. With that population, the Diaspora family can catapult any nation to greatness. Regrettably, Nigeria is yet to harness fully the huge benefits of the Diaspora potential.
“Beyond their vital role of sending foreign remittances back home, the Diaspora are increasingly involved in advancing technology and skill transfer, strengthening democracy, opening up global supply chains, trade and foreign direct investment, education and research as well as healthcare delivery.
“Cognizant of the critical role national Diasporas can play, some countries have set up full ministries, departments, or agencies to engage their nationals in the Diaspora,” Mr obi enunciated.
He said with the LP at the helms of affairs, his team 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 pursue aggressively modalities for raising the national internet penetration, as well as increased contribution of ICT to overall economic growth aid national development.
“Bolstering our power sector is imperative. 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 public-private partnership,” he added.
The former Anambra State governor while contending that Nigeria is at crossroads and ravaging insecurity, largely inflicted by non-state actors is fast threatening the nation’s sovereignty, said his administration 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.
“The relevant security architecture, institutions and agencies exist. The supporting national security enabling documents and strategies also exist. The problem is with policy coherence, coordination and implementation.
“We will pursue intangible assets of good governance, rule of law, security of lives and properties; and emphasize patriotism, national interest, and national morale, quality of government, political will and character, which are all complimentary to the other assets.
“Nigeria today is not the Nigeria our founding fathers contemplated nor is it the Nigeria of our dreams, neither is it what the Nigerian youths hope and yearn for, which all suggests that Nigerians must fight for a new Nigeria.”
Furthermore, the LP flagbearer said the nation is vastly polarized and wracked by deep divisions along religious, ethnic and regional lines.
He emphasized that there is a staggering level of corruption, and the nation’s woes are compounded by situations like universities remaining closed for six months while the healthcare system remains almost moribund and power generation and distribution linger at an all-time low.
Mr obi inferred that thinking through 2023 and beyond, Nigerians must think seriously about a leadership that is imbued with competence, capacity, credibility and commitment.
“The 4 Cs, will be required to turn Nigeria around,” he underscored.
He said his team’s vision and mission is to give full expression to Nigeria’s democracy by moving the country from consumption to production.