Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, Professor Ade Adefuye, declared on Saturday that the Goodluck Jonathan administration knows better than to want to take Nigerians for a ride.
Professor Adefuye spoke in Chicago at a forum hosted by the Nigerian Diaspora Organization (NIDO) at the Chicago South Loop Hotel, Chicago, IL, USA, on the state of the Nigerian federation in respect of the fuel subsidy removal and Boko Haram crisis.
According to Adefuye, whatever plans the government had in tackling the Boko Haram affair could not be made public so as not to compromise matters of national security. “Something is being done. I can assure you that a lot is going on to stem the security drift. Foot soldiers come into Nigeria from Mali, Niger etc. Some of the fighters of Quadaffi are in Niger and because we don’t want them to infiltrate Boko Haram, the government closed the borders. So, a lot of things being done about Boko Haram are security issues that cannot be revealed in public.”
Professor Adefuye said that local citizens are being involved in giving useful information that could assist in building actionable intelligence on the activities and attacks from the evil Islamic cult. According to him, “it is impossible to completely answer all the questions Nigerians have on the critical events of the day in the country.” He said that the essence of the Chicago parley was to thoroughly appraise Nigerians on what government wanted to do.
Adefuye has taken the Nigerian government’s message to senior officials of the Corporate Council on Africa. The same message had been conveyed to senior officials of African Bureau of State Department in Washington D.C.
The Washington Chamber of Commerce had also been briefed on why the World should thinking beyond Boko Haram in investing in Nigeria. Concerning the views on the wrong timing of the removal of subsidies, the ambassador said that it had to be done because “no government worth its salt should be shy of taking tough decisions that is necessary for the survival of the country. The President knew that labor would not take the decision lightly, but a good leader must always take decisions that would ultimately be in the interest of the country. Give us sometime. Give the government sometime; don’t visit the mistakes, the unfaithfulness and incompetence of his predecessors on Jonathan. Jonathan is not the same as Obasanjo, neither is he Shagari or anyone else. He is a different person. Give him some time. Let him do what he has promised to do. He has said he would not disappoint. And he knows, you people are sharper now, with these phones and the online media, you cannot take Nigerians for a ride, we know that. We saw the way you are questioning us now. Government is taking charge of things. We are in the same boat.”
Several people had heckled the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri, on the insensitivity of the Nigerian leaders. “They don’t listen,” said Dr. Malcolm Fabiyi and Mr. Segun Olapojoye. Both Chief Dada and Gabriel Okoye, two leaders of NIDO had to intervene in order to forestall the waning interests of Nigerians who felt that they were not there to receive tutorials from the visiting officials.
Participants who come from the United States of America, Southern American countries and Canada were sharply divided on the tutorial approach adopted by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri, and the ambassador, Professor Adefuye.
They suggested, with boiling passion, that the government officials were doing most of the talking rather than listening to ordinary people. Some of the accomplished professionals who participated, for example, Professor Augustine Esogbue, the first non-American member of the board of the American National Aerospace and Space Agency, said that some of the data and statistics that the government based its conclusions on in ramming fuel subsidies removal down the throat of Nigerians could not be relied on.
Professor Esogbue suggested that the government should avail itself of the abundant human resources at home and in the Diaspora when thinking of introducing critical policies.
Some angry members of the audience said that they had to protest the monologue approach that the Minister of State initially adopted as an attempt to do photo-op that the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) would go and use at home in order to deceive Nigerians that NIDO and its affiliated organizations were in total support of subsidies removal. The Minister later denied the charge n an exclusive interview with shaprpedgenews.com.
While NIDO called on the government to do more in guaranteeing the security of Nigerians, the body said that labor and government must come to a workable pump price for PMS in Nigeria.
One of the participating affiliate organizations at the event, Imo State Congress of America, circulated a statement after its president, Mr. Felix Nnaji, expressed strong objections to the recent killings of Christians and southerners in the north.
“The fact remains that Boko Jaram chose the most holy day of Christianity to inflict the worst evil, vile, barbaric and satanic massacre of innocent church congregations. This incident was not just an attack on Nigerian Christians but an assault on Christianity in general. It is an insult, an outrage and a colossal provovation.”
Professor Augustine Esogbue advised Nigerian officials to always talk to people in the Diaspora, against the backdrop of the fact that the new media, internet, has shrunk global space and distance. “Talk to us like you are talking to people aware and know how things should be done.” He said that the input of Nigerian Diaspora ought to have been sought instead of asking for advise retroactively. He also said that it would be appropriate to have accomplished Nigeria professionals in the proposed Diaspora commission.