President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday challenged Nigerians in Diaspora to be agents of change, development and proponents of the nation’s economic emancipation and unity.
The President, who was speaking when he declared open, the 6th Nigeria Diaspora Day Celebration in Abuja, also urged them to respond positively to the invitation to come home and contribute to the development of the nation.
Represented by the Vice President Namadi Sambo, the President further enjoined them to become a part of the nation’s collective efforts in building a better future for the present and future generations of Nigerians.
“The task of taking Nigeria to the pinnacle of development comparable to the major industrialized nations is a task for us all, not least Nigerians in Diaspora. There is no better time than now, there has been no better opportunity than as currently presented, for you to become a part of our collective efforts in building a better future for present and future generations of Nigerians.
He, therefore, reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to continue to partner with Nigerians in Diaspora in uplifting the quality of life of all Nigerians, calling on them to actively participate in the ongoing activities and programmes to celebrate Nigeria’s 100 years of existence as a geo-political entity. He advised them to invest in the proposed Centenary City by building their own Diaspora village.
President Jonathan, revealed that the various reforms and programmes being implemented under the Transformation Agenda had started yielding fruitful results. “In the Power sector, the privatization of our electricity generation and distribution companies is in progress, with significant foreign investor participation”. “We have rebalanced our spending in favour of capital expenditure, adding that, “The rate of inflation also dropped to single digit territory at the beginning of this year.
The President said his administration would continue to create the enabling environment to attract both foreign and local investors into the country, stressing that government was also strengthening the nation’s democratic institutions and confronting, with great determination and firmness, the challenges of insecurity across the country, He said the issues of governance and corruption were also being “vigorously tackled on all fronts”.
He also commended those Nigerians in Diaspora who had responded positively to the clarion call for greater involvement in the nation building process, saying “You should be very proud that your remittances and investments in our fast-growing Stock Market, Real Estate and other business ventures, education support, capacity building and humanitarian activities, most especially the medical missions are all increasingly impacting on individuals and communities across our country.”
In their separate remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, and the Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs Abike Dabiri, commended the Nigerians in Diaspora for their immense contributions towards transforming the country.
In his keynote address, Professor Molefi Kete Asante of the Department of African American Studies at the Temple University, Unites States of America, titled, Nigeria moving towards a world future: the developing of the diaspora, urged the Nigerian diaspora to surpass that of the United State, Britain, India, China and Japan in their contribution to the development of their fatherland. Professor Asante, who traced his origins to Nigeria, commended the President Jonathan administration for its people oriented programmes.
The 2013 Nigeria Diaspora Day Celebration, with the theme; Diaspora Nigerians: Agents of Investment and Development, attracted hundreds of participants from across the world.