Osinbajo: Most Nigerians in Diaspora Are Honest, Hardworking, Making Waves
•Nigeria to deepen bilateral relationship with Canada
• Dialogues with Canadian counterpart on adoption of gas as transition fuel
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has thumbed up most Nigerians living overseas for being honest, hardworking and wave makers across the world.
He also acknowledged the fact that some few others were engaging in activities giving Nigeria bad image abroad.
According to Osinbajo, the vast majority of Nigerians abroad are honest, hardworking and straightforward people who are making positive impact globally.
The vice president stated this in Ottawa on Monday evening, during an interactive session with some leaders of Nigerian groups across different provinces in Canada.
He said, “the vast majority of Nigerians all over the place are honest, straightforward people trying to survive in those places and be responsible citizens wherever they find themselves. That is the story of the vast majority.”
Osinbajo however noted that, “what you tend to find is that a few people do the damage, and there is a negative characterisation that comes out of that.”
As a preventive measure on their part, the vice president advised Nigerians in the diaspora to, “engage with our communities wherever they are to ensure that people see the damage that is being done to society.
“We can engage with our people and have a lot more conversations around trying to prevent people from committing offences and crimes, but more importantly, being able to self-regulate in our communities, talking about it frankly and openly.
“We must engage countries also so that Nigerians are not profiled. This is something that we have been doing, working with embassies in different countries to be sure that Nigerians are given a fair chance and that there is no negative profiling of Nigerians.
“Look at what is going here (in Canada), there are so many Nigerians, professionals, and politicians who are in very serious positions of responsibility.”
Responding to the question of difficulty in processing cases through the court system of Nigeria, Osinbajo emphasised that there’s a lot of innovation in the legal sector in Nigeria.
According to him: “A lot of start-ups in the legal sector in Nigeria are using innovation. There are those who are case aggregators, those using some measure of Artificial Intelligence in being able to sort through materials and present opinions.
“There’s a lot more openness and we have a Chief Justice of the Federation who has pledged to be open to technology and quicker processing of cases.”
Commenting on collaboration by Canadian universities providing training programmes for Nigerians, the vice president noted that there was already a relationship, “with some universities here like Carleton University, Ottawa, Queen’s University in Kingston already doing some work.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Nigerian High Commissioner, Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun noted that Nigerians living in Canada would soon be able to apply for 10-year passport leaflets, being the third country to roll out the process after the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
In separate remarks during the interaction and other meetings of the vice president so far in Ottawa, leaders of Nigerian communities and officials of the Canadian government poured encomium on the Nigerian High Commissioner, some referring to him as a “father figure”, who is passionate about education and collaboration between Universities in Canada and Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Nigeria and Canada have agreed on the need for the two nations to strengthen the bilateral relationships between them.
Osinbajo and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland emphasised the need for both countries to focus on improving trade, deepening ongoing educational collaboration, continuing dialogue on the global energy transition issues and climate changes.
According to a statement by Osinbajo’s media assistant, Laolu Akande, the resolution formed the highpoint of the meeting between both leaders in Ottawa, the capital of the North American country.
During his interaction with top Canadian parliamentarians, including senators and cabinet members led by Freeland, the vice president noted that, “we are hoping for much more that we can do together.”
The Canadian Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the country’s Finance Minister, had earlier expressed similar sentiments while welcoming the Vice President.
She observed that the Canadian government values its relationship with Africa, especially Nigeria, and has been looking forward to this visit for a long time, adding that the relationship with Nigeria was “very important to us.”
On the global net zero emissions targets, and energy transition, Osinbajo reaffirmed the view that gas ought to be adopted as a transition fuel, a notion he said garnered traction at the recent COP27 conference in Egypt, even though still widely unacknowledged in the West.
Both leaders exchanged notes on some of the common and peculiar economic challenges in their respective countries, including fiscal and monetary challenges, subsidies, financial inclusion, social investments programmes and strategies to support the vulnerable, among others.
They also discussed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), observing that the market provided opportunities for mutual benefits, not only for African countries, but also Canada which is desirous of contributing to its development and also tapping into the continental market.
Apart from Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, other top parliamentarians who met with the Vice President included the Honourable Ahmed Hussen – Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion; the Honourable Marci Ein – Minister for Women and Gender Equality; the Honourable Rob Oliphant – The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; MP Michael Coteau – Member of Parliament for Don Valley East in Toronto; Senator Marie-Françoise Mégie – Senator from Quebec and Senator Hassan Yussuff – Senator from Ontario.
On Osinbajo’s side were Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun – the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada; Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu – Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters; Mrs. Maryam Uwais – Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment; Dr. Jumoke Oduwole – Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business and Ambassador Abdullahi Gwary – Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs.