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‘We’ll Turn Diaspora Nigerians From Welfare ATMs To Investment Partners If We Win’, Says Obi in Washington

The Oasis Reporters


September 4, 2022



Mr Peter Obi and Prof . Pat Utomi speaking at  Howard University in Washington September 1, 2022 (photo credit US Nigeria Law Group)

Presidential candidate says not seeking Diaspora money but partnership

Ex-Governor Peter Obi on his whirlwind tour of the US, has declared that he’s running to be president mainly to mobilize and “take Nigeria back” from structures of criminality which must be “shut down.”

Speaking at the Howard University considered “Black Harvard” on September 1 and also at the iconic Mayflower hotel on September 2, Obi lamented that the Nigerian American community were doubly victims of Nigeria claiming at least 70% of them would not be abroad if things were working at home.

“Although you have escaped from Nigeria, you have not escaped the problems of Nigeria. You are now ATMs and a welfare institution for those at home just to survive. For every 10 phone calls you receive, 11 are problems. We want to change you from funeral directors and undertakers to investors in Nigeria.”

Obi stated that if Nigeria was secured with security, regulation and rule of law, the very first people to rush to invest would be Nigerians in Diaspora. Right now the billions they remit annually are mostly going to consumption not production or investment, he submitted.

Renowned intellectual, Prof Pat Utomi who spoke alongside Obi at the Crampton auditorium revealed that Forbes magazine had once dubbed Nigeria, “Africa’s money losing machine” but said that “if the world sees Nigeria as serious,” capital inflows would come.

Responding to a question from a World Bank executive during an exclusive interactive session over breakfast at the Mayflower hotel about his resource mobilization target, Gov Obi declared that he was not seeking funds from the Diaspora and would not compete with the other candidates’ financial war chests.

“Just yesterday, my online service was about Peter who fished all night and caught nothing. When he met Jesus, he told Peter to go back and cast his net on the other side which he complied to and caught much fish.
I was running in PDP and caught nothing but when I cast my net in the Labor party, I caught plenty,” he concluded to thunderous applause.

Prof Utomi decried the “culture collapse” and “entitlement mentality” where relatives in Nigeria would embezzle funds those in Diaspora sent for building projects etc with impunity.

Obi said that the best solution was for Diaspora to make business investments in Nigeria that will sustain those at home and also be profitable for them like his Bangladeshi neighbor in the UK did in his country.

He recounted how after speaking at Yale University some years ago, two young second generation Americans who had never been to Nigeria told him they wanted to visit and invest in Nigeria against their parents wishes.
He said they did so and when their factory equipment was illegally confiscated by the police, he intervened to resolve the issue. He said the company eventually had a $10 million valuation for processing palm oil and that he regretted not having invested with them at startup.

Mr Obi subsequently departed for Atlanta and New York for the final leg of the Peter Obi Tour of the United States of America (POTUSA.)

Special Report by Emmanuel Ogebe


Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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