Yoruba in America demand better performance, accountability from Buhari
Nigerians of Yoruba descent living in the United States and Canada have ended a two-day national conference in Dallas, Texas with a call on President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to strive towards better performance and accountability.
He should also leave a legacy on which future administrations can build.
The recent two-day national conference of Egbe Omo Yoruba, which represents more than 400,000 people of Nigerian descent living in the United States and Canada, featured several Yoruba scholars, including renowned Nigerian economist, Dr. Benjamin Ola Akande, president of Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri; Dr. Toyin Falola, Professor of African Studies and History at the University of Texas Austin, among many others.
The conference was designed to bolster national efforts to attract American investment in Nigeria, accelerate economic growth and prosperity for the Yoruba people and unite and promote the cultural and professional spirit of the Yoruba community in North America.
Speaking in one of his two keynote addresses, Akande, who was recently elected the first Nigerian-born president of a prestigious American university, highlighted some of the problems bedeviling the country.
“Our beloved Nigeria isn’t working,” he lamented. Our Nigeria is mired in incompetence and corruption. Many of our public institutions barely function.”
He noted that while Buhari has launched a new campaign to battle government corruption, “the real challenge is whether it will have any staying power.”
He pointed out that while no one expects Buhari to tackle all of Nigeria’s problems in one term, he “has had a front row seat of leadership in Nigeria for nearly 40 years. His last 12 months on the job simply don’t reflect that vast experience.”
He added that the war on corruption could only be won if the government adopted serious prison reforms, solid witness protection programmes and efficient anti-corruption agencies.
He also challenged all Yoruba in Nigeria to elect better leaders.
“In choosing many of our leaders, we have settled for mediocrity. We have allowed and have traded the boys in military-run government for over-dressed vagabonds and their rent-seeking thugs. In effect, we have abdicated our responsibilities as citizens in a democracy,” he said.
Akande’s remarks were echoed by Falola who urged: “Yoruba scholars all over the world to unite to pursue a set of related objectives, use Yoruba to universalise scholarship, that is, to turn our own data into theories with universal applications.”
He said Nigerians must leverage “the knowledge economy,” which he said “is more lucrative than the oil economy.
“The knowledge economy is tied with all forms of technologies and information that generates progress and it can be created in abundance, far more than any resources that are lifted from the ground.”
The conference which focused heavily on economic opportunities for the U.S. in Nigeria and for Nigerian businesses in North America was sponsored by Dallas-based Axxess, a leader in providing integrated software for home health agencies, Excellent Financial Services and Pure Pack Oil & Gas, USA.