Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has observed that Nigerians are more united while outside the country, but seem to act like enemies when they are in their home country.
Obasanjo, who was impressed by the unity exhibited among Nigerians in the United States of America, enjoined Nigerians in the diaspora to reciprocate such togetherness when they are back in Nigeria.
Obasanjo, made this assertion on behalf of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that included the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola, at an evening reception held at New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo told the gathering that Nigerians in the Diaspora are making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour.
The former president urged the Nigerians in diaspora to be good citizens wherever they are domiciled.
“Nigerian nationals are often very united when they are abroad, but something else when they return to the country, therefore, I want to urge all to be good citizens, not only where you are, but when also you come home to Nigeria,” Obasanjo was quoted as having said, as chants of “Obj, Obj, Obj, Obj” by the audience punctuated his speech.
Obasanjo, the Balogun (Prime Minister) of Owu Kingdom, however, thanked the Rutgers University management for the warm reception accorded the delegation and for the far-reaching engagements.
The event was put together by the Center for African Studies, Rutgers University, New Jersey, headed by Professor Bode Ibironke and 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 also attended the event.
The delegation held meetings and engagements in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania 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.
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, Council Woman Zulfat Suara from Nasville, Tennesse, presented Council Proclamations to Chief Obasanjo and Oba (Prof.) Saka Adelola Matemilola.
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 other array of dignitaries.
Among organisations that were involved in the program 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).
The institutions that participated in the program on the US side were 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 include the Gateway Polytechnic, Saapade, Crescent University, Abeokuta, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye and Bells University of Technology, Ota, Nigeria.