President Muhammadu Buhari has commended Nigerians living in the United States for the exemplary role they play in their various fields and urged them to continue this lineage to earn the respect of their hosts.
President Buhari said at the town hall meeting with Nigerians in the diaspora in New York on Saturday:
“I am gratified to note that many Nigerians in the US have continued to excel in their careers, leading to some being appointed to His Excellency President Joe Biden’s cabinet.
“Similarly, many have been elected/appointed to various responsible and competitive positions in the United States of America. I congratulate those who brought honor and pride to our country. I thank and commend them for their respective accomplishments, and I equally urge them to show the highest level of responsibility so that they continue to be reference points for excellence as they serve humanity in this country.
“As always, I want to emphasize the absolute need for each and every one of you to continue to abide by the law while residing in the United States of America and to conduct yourself in an exemplary manner that should earn you the privilege of reference as good ambassadors of.” Nigeria.
“In order to earn collective self-respect within the communities in which you live, you must live peacefully with one another and continue to do so without division among one another. As you may know, together as a people we will always be stronger.”
The President said the government created the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission to serve as a bridge between them and the country in the development 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 commitment to the development of our great country Nigeria.”
He assured that the government would continue to act in its interests whenever necessary, citing the recent evacuations in Libya, South Africa and recently Ukraine. He added that he has also approved this in the United Arab Emirates and India.
The President commended them for remittances from the diaspora, which totaled $20 billion in 2021, an amount four times the foreign direct investment in the same period, as well as for their investments in various sectors of Nigeria’s economy such as healthcare, Agriculture, Education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Housing and Real Estate, Transportation, Oil and Gas.
The President commended Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairwoman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, which coordinated the event, for her innovative programs to bring the ambassadors closer home, such as the Diaspora Registration Portal, the Diaspora Mortgage Scheme and the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust (NDIT).
President Buhari reiterated the government’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 government in our sub-region and the rest of the African continent.” .”
The representatives of Nigerians in the US who visited the President are:
1. Bobby Digi Olisa, an American-born Nigerian, current President of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization, New York, co-owns an international restaurant and medical clinic in his community.
2. Philip H. Moses from Kaduna State received his first degree in Geology from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1991. Lives in Minnesota, USA for 25 years as a Mental Health Practitioner, Behavior Modification Assistant with the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
3. dr Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, Ph.D, is Professor of Global Affairs and Politics. She was recently awarded a four-year tenure as a Fulbright Specialist Scholar with the United States Department State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in recognition of her contribution and influence in the field of higher education and international affairs.
4. Wale Adelagunja, Chair of the Council for Global Alliance (C-Glo) which identifies appropriate business opportunities to advance continental African and Caribbean descent in trade, technological and infrastructural development.
5. Dr. Rukaiya Bashir Hamidu, born and raised in Maiduguri and Yola, later attended St. George’s University in Grenada/New York to study medicine (Doctor of Medicine Degree, First Class). She is currently a Gastroenterology Fellow at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
6.Dr. Dominic Chukwuemeka Valentine Onyema, 1977 Barclays Bank International Scholarship holder at UWC Atlantic College in Wales, UK. He has a B.Sc. (Hons) degree from the University of Lagos in Nigeria and Medical degree from St. Georges University. He has been licensed in medicine and surgery in New York State since 1992. He is the founder, owner and president of Healthwise Medical Associates.
7. Miss Aghaeze Favor. A fellow at Millersville University pursuing her Masters in Clinical Psychology. In 2021 she graduated from Philander Smith College with Distinguished Cum Laude.
8. Obinna Anusiem is CEO and Founder of NGEX, a provider of data, marketing and research solutions that enable clients to promote and increase awareness of their products and services to clients in Nigeria and in the diaspora.
9. Colonel Gabriel A. Isioye assumes command of the 865th Combat Support Hospital after serving as Chief Dental Officer with the 8th Medical Brigade in Staten Island, NY.
10.Dr. Philip O. Ozuah, MD, PhD is President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine, the umbrella organization of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded researcher and award-winning educator, he was also Professor and University Chair of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
11. Lieutenant Commander (Sel) Victor Agunbiade is a distinguished naval officer in the US Navy and has greatly influenced the mission on every deployment. From November 2015 to July 2019, he served as a Division Officer and Officer Recruiter in the Navy Recruiting District, Richmond (NRD), where he received active general recruiter recognition. He is currently the reserve program manager at Navy Recruiting Command (NRC) in Millington, Tennessee.
12.Dr. Nelson Aluya, MBBS, MD is a physician with extensive, broad-based training and clinical experience on over three continents. He is currently Chief Medical Officer for Newark Community Health Centers.
13. Alhaja Adenike Oyejide, BBA/MBA/MNI is a retired government official from New York City. She is a forensic accountant and bank clerk by profession. She is currently Vice Chair of the African Advisory Council, Bronx Borough President Office, Bronx, New York.
14. 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 America’s first university scholarship program, which sent him to UCLA in 1961, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He received his PhD in 1968, becoming the first black man in the world to earn a PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering/Operations Research.
15.Dr. Adeola Popoola is President and Advisor of Poppy Physical Rehabilitation Consultants with specialty centers for the physically and mentally handicapped and handicapped and for the treatment of pain syndromes. He had an extensive professional appointment of 40 years, 1982-2022, in universities across Nigeria. He was President of the Nigeria in Diaspora Organization, NIDO-New Jersey.