Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, made the appeal at a series of Town halls with Nigerians in the U.S., assuring that old ways are now giving way to new ways of doing things.
The minister was in the U.S. to sensitise diaspora Nigerians on the Presidential Executive Order V signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in February, to improve local content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Order is expected to promote the application of science, technology and innovation towards achieving Nigeria’s development goals across all sectors of her economy.
The president, in line with his constitutional powers, ordered that all “procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007”.
Onu thanked the diasporas for their remittances to Nigeria estimated at 22 billion dollars yearly, saying it is a major contribution for our nation “but we want you to return home”.
The minister said: “Please we want you to return home, it is important. Not everybody will return but some can start coming home, and that’s the essence.
“We are telling you that things are changing in Nigeria, this is the message, that’s why I’m here.
“I heard all the complaints – people will do this and nobody responds and all that and so on; yes, these are things that happened in the past and we can’t correct these things just overnight.
“This is the truth, there is no way you can make these changes and then make the corrections and all that overnight. But the important thing is that there is a change”.
Onu appealed to the diasporas to make a patriotic decisions about their country, saying “we can’t all be waiting until everything is okay in Nigeria before we can return home”
According to him, there are many Bill Gates in Nigeria, adding, we need to give you the opportunities and we are giving these opportunities.
“If there were pioneers that built America, there must be pioneers to build Nigeria.
Please I beg you, let us not wait until everything is ready. Somebody has to get it ready.
“If we keep waiting until everything is ready, it may never be. We must decide that we have to look at the future of our children and grand children.
“Let’s not look about ourselves. So we have to think of the future, we have to think of the greatness of our nation.
He said Nigeria had never had it like this before about the level of infrastructure development that was going on in our country, stressing that the country is having changes across board.
“Things are changing in our country, and if all of us can walk together, if we can do that, then we can now build a great nation that all of us would be proud of.
“This is the message and I believe that this is also your intentions that our nation will be a great nation. Please, you should never have any doubt about the future of our country.
“We have some of the most intelligent people in the world. I can tell you this because I know those Nigerians who have done so well in the best universities, in the best research centres in the world.”
According to him, the executive order will make money for Nigeria and Nigerians, create jobs for the citizens, fight poverty and increase the middle class in the nation.