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We’ll Move Nigeria from Consumption to Production Economy – Obi Tells Diaspora Nigerians



By Olisemeka Sony

Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 election has declared that the major economic policy objectives of his administration would be moving Nigeria from consumption to a productive economy.

Obi made the pledge while addressing Diaspora Nigerians during a Townhall meeting in Los Angeles, California, USA on Monday night.
Speaking on the topic: “The Role of the Nigerian Diaspora in Civic Leadership in Nigeria”, the former Anambra governor told the participants that Nigerian citizens abroad remain the greatest asset of the country and expressed his readiness to harness their potential in his bid to reposition the country’s economic base.

He declared: “Nigeria can no longer afford to remain a consuming economy. While meeting local demands, she must transition into trading with manufactured and finished goods, and playing in the technology in the export market. No country thrives economically merely by exporting its raw materials and importing virtually everything. Such a disposition weakens our economic base and employment capabilities.
According to Obi, under his leadership, Nigerians in the Diaspora would be effectively engaged to act as important ‘trade ambassadors’ and ‘negotiators’ for the country, especially at the level of attracting small-scale boutique businesses. “In the New Nigeria we seek, we must think out of the box and at times, disruptively.

As government and as Nigerians in Diaspora, we must henceforth contemplate those global best practices that will confer a comparative advantage on us, and replicate known successes that can move Nigeria from consumption to production”, he said.
Obi further disclosed that Nigerians in the diaspora constitute the first line of representation and the first line of defense. “They have been flying the national flag high, in contributing their quota towards the development of the country across various sectors. Nigeria Diaspora remittances now augment and support education, promote entrepreneurship and stimulate businesses, and investments in healthcare in addition to foreign remittances.

The LP candidate stressed that the diaspora community can be effectively mobilized as true assets for the rapid development of our country. “The Nigerian diaspora can play a major role in helping Nigeria transform its education sector. The diaspora community can help set up and administer endowment funds in Nigerian Universities.
“Recently, Dr. Phillip Ozuah took a catalytic lead by donating $1m to University of Ibadan. Endowments can also be used to provide support for students to go on exchange programmes that add value to their skills and motivation. It can also be used to support Faculty research and research and development (R&D) in general”, he adds.

Obi further hinted that opportunities also abound for proactive collaboration between the Diaspora community and the Federal and State governments in expanding healthcare delivery; improving the quality of our healthcare system as well as ensuring skill transfers to locally-based practitioners. He cited Nigeria’s internationally celebrated writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as a notable example of how Nigerians in Diaspora can play big role in the new Nigeria project.
“One of Nigeria’s best brand Ambassadors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers an excellent example of promoting our country and Nigerian brand products abroad.

Beyond her excellence in telling stories that promote Nigeria in irresistible fashion, she has proudly ad constantly promoted made-in-Nigeria fabrics and outfits through her social media channels; and by adorning them on various global stages that she has shared with some of the most prominent personalities in the world.
“Besides voting, a citizen’s most coveted role is holding an elected government accountable. With your education, exposure and understanding of government responsibilities in your host country, and collective leverage, it is your duty to help hold your state and national government accountable back home.

Peter Obi addressing Diaspora Nigerians

He urged Nigerian citizens, especially those abroad, to place pressing issues on the agenda of the candidates and subsequently, on the front burners for a new government that will be formed. “You have the network and numbers to be able to negotiate the priorities of the government, especially during the election period as the one we are embarking on soon. Patriotism cannot be imposed; just like respect, it must be earned through dedication, responsiveness, active engagement, orientation, and prioritizing of Nigerians in Diaspora. The ripple effect will be rapid and will rub off positively on the country’s economy.

He stressed that the only way to rescue Nigeria was to rally behind a credible candidate that can turn around the fortunes of the country. “Thinking through 2023 and beyond, we 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. It can only take one visionary leadership and disruptive thinker for Nigeria to be put back on the right trajectory. Our vision and mission is to give full expression to our democracy by moving our country from consumption to production.

Obi further disclosed other critical areas his administration will explore to make Nigeria a better country. “We will pursue intangible assets of good governance, rule of law, security of lives and properties, through an aggressive increase in personnel and equipment and inclusive training of operatives in our security agencies.

“We intend to lay special emphasis on critical infrastructure, especially Power to ensure a clear measurable increase of 200 percent 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 aid national development.

“We will 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.
Obi equally pledged to 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. He insisted that his administration would observe zero tolerance on corruption and curb wastes. “We will have zero tolerance for corruption, and will 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.
On the foreign policy objective, the Labour Party Candidate insisted that Africa will remain the centrepiece of his administration’s foreign policy.

“We will improve Nigeria’s diplomatic sphere of influence via peacekeeping, trade, and investment initiatives”, he said.

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