The Nigerian Diaspora Drums Up Support For President Buhari

By Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Relations & Diaspora

As Nigerians prepare to head to the polls, I have made one final international visit before the election, to London.

In my capacity as President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Relations & Diaspora, I have been speaking to members of the Nigerian Community in the UK about the upcoming election, about relations between our two countries, and about why they will be supporting President Buhari on the 16th February.

As Senior Special Assistant I have been fortunate enough to travel the world and visit influential Nigerians across the diaspora, but my visits to London are always among the most special of all. Partly because of the unique historical and cultural bond that continues to underpin Nigeria’s relationship with the UK, but also on a more personal level; it is the warm welcome that I receive from the Nigerian community in the UK, who are some of the most positive, active, and vibrant representatives that our great nation has, that makes the visit so special.

The House of Commons is now home to seven Members of Parliament of Nigerian descent, there are several A-List British actors who speak about their Nigerian roots with pride, including Star Wars’ John Boyega. The UK is lucky to be the home of top Nigerian academics, such as Professor Imafidion with the mastery of training and creating geniuses. And some of Britain’s most decorated athletes, too, carry with dignity both their accomplishments and their Nigerian heritage. Unified world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, has a tattoo of Africa, with Nigeria clearly outlined, etched into his left shoulder.

I was in London to ensure that regardless of the outcome of the election next month, these relationships continue to grow from strength to strength. During my trip, I was interviewed on prominent media channels, including Sky News, held meetings with influential think-tanks and hosted at the Houses of Parliament by Chi Onwurah MP, Kate Osamor MP, and Baroness Udin from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Nigeria. Most importantly, I have been engaging with members of the Nigerian Diaspora on the topics that really matter to them.

During my visit, I have spent time with the All Progressives Congress UK Branch – who have been working tirelessly in the U.K., and Nigeria, to secure President Buhari’s re-election. Whilst in London, I attended an event co-hosted by APC UK and Together Nigeria, an independent advocacy group supporting the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, of which I am First Ambassador. The message of Together Nigeria was brought to the UK – let’s keep moving forward, and vote on the facts! The event brought in Buhari-supporters from all over London, to celebrate the successes of the past four years. Their passion was infectious.

Throughout the election campaign, these activists have been highlighting the achievements of President Buhari, using their popular social media channels, and most recently, they have sent delegations to Nigeria to join the campaign trail all over the country.

Though the millions of Nigerians abroad cannot currently vote in the elections, the diaspora still have an absolutely vital and influential role to play in mobilising their relatives and friends back home to support the right candidates. The diaspora remit at least $23 billion to Nigeria every year, they should not and cannot be ignored. As for members of the diaspora who are elsewhere in Africa and still registered to vote at home, I encourage them to commit the time and resources to keep Nigeria moving forward under President Buhari.

Around the world, Nigerians have applauded President Buhari’s efforts to tackle corruption and make Nigeria a more prosperous and viable destination for international business. British-Nigerians, amongst others, have sought to support their President as much as possible in his efforts to recover money where it has been unlawfully taken to Western Countries.

Since his election in 2015, President Buhari has committed to tackling corruption head on. As we well know, when corruption is fought, corruption fights back; but this has not deterred our President from his anti-corruption mission.

This has been recognised both within Nigeria, and internationally. President Buhari has been recognised by his fellow African Union members as Africa’s “anti-corruption champion”, and Nigerians in the diaspora are excited by the impact that this work has had on the perception of Nigeria in the international arena. Under the Buhari-led administration the World Bank has recognised these efforts, and Nigeria has risen 24 places in the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings.

During the election campaign, the overwhelming message I have received from members of the Nigerian Diaspora is that we must allow President Buhari to consolidate the progress he has made, we must give him the platform he needs to take the right steps and help us all to build the Nigeria of our dreams.

Now, more than at any moment in Nigeria’s political history, we need stability, accountability, and continued growth. In order to achieve this, we need four more years of President Buhari.

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