Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has told Nigerians in the Diaspora that they are making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour and urged them to be good citizens of wherever they are domiciled.
The international statesman and two-time Head of Government of Nigeria, said this in New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States of America (USA), at an Evening Reception in honour of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that includes himself, and the Olowu (King) of Owu Kingdom in Ogun State of Nigeria, His Royal Majesty Oba (Prof.) Saka Adelola Matemilola.
The delegation is billed for meetings and engagements in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which program started from May 15, 2023 and will run till continue till My 24, 2023, mostly with the aim of signing Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and forging partnerships and Alliances between Universities in the United States of America (USA) and some of their counterparts in Nigeria.
President Obasanjo, who spoke on behalf of the delegation at the end of the well-attended Reception, while hailing Nigerians in Diaspora, also noted that the nationals are often very united when they are abroad but something else when they return to the country.
He, therefore, urged the Diasporans to be good citizens, not only where they are but when they come home to Nigeria.
Chief Obasanjo, who is also a General of the Nigerian Army (retired) effusively thanked the Rutgers University administration, starting with the President of the Institution for the warm reception accorded the Delegation and for the far-reaching engagements with the highly rated University. Chants of “Obj, Obj, Obj, Obj” by the audience punctuated Chief Obasanjo’s speech.
Put together by the Center for African Studies, Rutgers University, New Jersey, headed by Professor Bode Ibironke, the engagement at Rutgers University was attended by the leadership of the University, the Representative of Nigeria at the United Nations (UN ) Ambassador (Prof.) Tijanni Muhammed-Bande, top academics from other institutions, including Prof. Akil Khalfani, Director of the Africana Institute of Essex County College, Newark, New Jersey and Prof. Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, who stressed that what was considered brain drain had become brain gain.
Dr. Adeniyi Ogunkoya, a New Jersey-based Physician and head of a healthcare consortium with plans to establish a mega medical facility in Nigeria made a presentation of what the state-of-the-art facility would look like, a former Secretary to the Government of Anambra State under Mr. Peter Obi’s government, Dr. Oseloka Obaze was there, as was Councilwoman Zulfat Suara from Nasville, Tennesse who presented Council Proclamations to Chief Obasanjo, Oba (Prof.) Saka Adelola Matemilola and his wife.
Also present were Prof. Afe Adogame of Princeton University, Dr. Josephine Aguoji, Vice President, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Commander Victor Agunbiade of the United States Navy, Mrs. Moni Adesina, Treasurer, NIDO, Jide Akinosho, Finance Director, Global IT & Shared Services (Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., among an array of other dignitaries.
Among organisations that were involved in putting the program together are different Yoruba groups, especially the Yoruba Action Council (YAC) led by Dr. Akin Awofolaju and Prof. Albert Ayeni; the NIDO, New Jersey chapter, led by Dr. Adeola Popoola and the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA).
There were presentations to President Obasanjo and Oba (King) Saka Adelola Matemilola and his Olori (Queen), who is an avid educator in her own right and the Chairperson of an education-centered Foundation.
The institutions participating in the program on the US side are the University of Maryland, IES Abroad, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Princeton University, and PennState University, while some of the Institutions on the Nigerian side are The Gateway Polytechnic, Saapade, Crescent University, Abeokuta, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Olabisi Onabanjo University, and Bells University of Technology, Ota, Nigeria.
Pictures here show some of the dignitaries who came from far and near to grace the memorable event that was held at the Zimmerli Art Museum of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, on Monday, May 22, 2023.