By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Sept. 18, 2023
The Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN) and partner organisations are seeking an audience with President Bola Tinubu on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Tinubu arrived in New York on Sunday to attend the High-Level meetings of the 78th session of UNGA.
The event is scheduled to open today, Monday, with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) summit.
James Francis, an OAN board member, in a letter on behalf of 20 Nigerian organisations, said the group would like Tinubu to have a strategic Town Hall Meeting with U.S.- based Nigerians.
A copy of the letter made available to NAN in New York stated that the strategic meeting was to ensure the most fruitful engagement between the Nigerians in the country and their President.
“We welcome you on your first official trip to the U.S. as the President of our nation, and hope you will take advantage of our invitation to engage with Nigerians in the U.S.
“OAN and its partner organisations specifically welcome you to the U.S. on your maiden High-Level meetings of the 78th Session, as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We also wish to assure you of the support of Nigerians in the U.S.,” Francis said.
The official said Nigeria is blessed with abundant eminently-qualified human resources spanning all sectors in the diaspora, and especially in the U.S.
“We are also pleased to note that this demography of Nigerians is unapologetically patriotic and unwaveringly committed to the development of our homeland.
“Nigerians are part of the brain thrust of many successful large corporations and industries in the U.S., UK, Canada, and other parts of the world.
“Many of them are C-level executives in these establishments that are responsible for managing the critical aspects of the economy of their host countries,” he said.
According to him, the diaspora is beyond the billions dollars in annual remittances to Nigeria.
Francis said that many countries the world over had since leveraged on their diaspora to turn their fortunes around due to strategic importance of diasporans to the development of any nation.
“As you embark on the arduous task of returning Nigeria to her glorious days, we are assuring you of the support of many qualified Nigerians in the diaspora.
“Indeed, the Nigerian diasporas have available complimentary talents that can contribute immensely to your administration, especially in critical areas that require international collaborations and relationships, or where there are needs to build Nigerian standard to internationally-reputable standards,” he added.
Francis said that OAN Inc., founded in 1989, are organisers of the annual Nigeria Independence Day Parade and Carnival, which is the largest annual gathering of Nigerians abroad since 1991.
OAN, he stressed, was founded by a group of concerned Nigerians to address the needs of the Nigerian community. At its formation, the official said, Nigeria and Nigerians were suffering seriously from negative stereotypes in the American media.
“Prior to OAN’s formation, no organisation existed that was committed to broader issues facing the Nigerian community in the U.S.
“Recognising the accomplishments and challenges faced by Nigerians living abroad, OAN filled the void by creating an umbrella organisation, which embraced Nigerians living from all walks of life, regardless of their ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“The organisation also immediately dedicated itself to enhancing the image of Nigeria in the U.S., addressing the negative stereotypes of Nigeria and Nigerians in the American media and culture.
“OAN has since become a platform for engaging the Diaspora community in meaningful dialogue and initiatives aimed at contributing to the development of Nigeria,” he said.
Francis added that while they were not unmindful of dire situation the Tinubu administration inherited, they are aware that Nigeria remains the envy of the international community in spite of challenges.
“We, therefore, believe that you possess the uncanny ability to take Nigeria out of its current challenges and put it on a pedestal that tasks other African leaders to deliver the age-long yearnings for good governance to their citizens.
“As the President of Africa’s largest democracy and economy, we are very hopeful that your administration will bring the much-needed reliefs to Nigerians.
“Once again, our group is prepared to work with your administration to realise a more prosperous, secure, and resilient Nigeria.
“We are willing to support you, Mr. President, to make your courageous and unwavering dream and quest for a better Nigeria a reality,” he said.
NAN reports that the president on his first outing to the Assembly will deliver his inaugural national statement to the world leaders on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Nigerian President is slated to participate in the high-level dialogue on financing for development.
He will attend a high-level meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response.
On Thursday, he will be participating in the UN Secretary General’s Climate Ambition Summit.
He will later attend a high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage and join another high-level panel on reform of the global financial architecture.
On Friday, he will be attending the high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis.
During the week, Tinubu is scheduled to hold several bilateral meetings with world leaders, including the Presidents of the European Union Commission, Brazil and South Africa, among others.
The theme of the UNGA is: “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability for all”.