President Muhammadu Buhari has told Nigerians in the diaspora that his administration has done well in the areas of security, economy and anti-corruption.
Buhari, who stated this during an interactive session with a select group of Nigerian professionals based in the United States and Canada, said his administration had delivered within the available resources.
The president explained that Boko Haram had been decimated, adding that it was most important for the country to be secured but regretted that the terrorist group was still targeting soft spots using girls for suicide bombings.
Buhari declared that “Boko Haram is not about religion but a pure terrorist group”, adding that “is why we are dealing with them”.
On corruption, he regretted that Nigeria made so much money from 1999 to 2014 when the price of crude oil per barrel was above 100 dollars while Nigeria produced around 1.2 million barrels per day.
“Calculate 2.2 million barrels times 100 dollars times 16 years; but everything went down the drain,” emphasising that “if Nigeria does not tame corruption, corruption will tame Nigeria”.
The president also said that he was not slow as some people had assumed, saying he was trying to follow the law, especially as democracy is different from military rule.
He recalled that he put people in Kirikiri Maximum Prison in Lagos when he was a military head of state and then ensured they remained in custody until they were able to prove themselves innocent.
Buhari, however, said his administration was making progress but had to go by the law assuring that “if I win the next election and I survive the next four years, I will do better”.
He also recounted his bitter experience in politics saying that he suffered electoral corruption from 2013 when he started contesting for the presidency and had at each point, pursued the case up to the Supreme Court but lost.
“I’m always conscious of the ordinary people because they are the ones that always vote for me. A lot of big men have no time to go and queue on the line for hours.
“There were even pregnant women who were on the line for hours and they delivered. They are my constituencies; they always vote for me,” Buhari said.
The president explained that he had warned the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security agencies to ensure that every vote counts by allowing Nigerians to vote whoever they want without harassment.
Buhari said he recognised that Nigerians in the diaspora were talented people and called on them to come to the support of the country, particularly, in education.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the diasporas appealed to the president to get them more involved in issues about the country considering that they are major stakeholders.
Earlier, the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, commended the willingness of the diasporas to support the efforts of the government’s economic growth and diversification plans.
“The purpose of this gathering is to allow Nigerians in diaspora interact with Mr President by offering useful suggestions for government to continually strengthen the existing bond of affection, identity and sense of responsibility for the Diaspora community, to actively participate in development efforts of Nigeria at home.
”I feel delighted to state the obvious that among Nigerians in the United States, we have some of the most celebrated and outstanding in various fields of human endeavours.
“I wish to report to Mr President of the desire and passion of these Nigerians to contribute and maintain an effective working partnership with government to integrate their valuable contributions into the domestic growth mechanisms.
“More importantly, as human capital is a vital resource for the development of any country, I wish to call on Nigerians in United States America to utilise the opportunities to invest at home and be good ambassadors of change in Nigeria.