The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has said that Nigerians in diaspora excel and lead in various endeavour because the gene of excellence is programmed into them.
Adesina, who stated this in his speech delivered at Nigeria’s Diaspora Day Celebration delivered virtually, stated that Nigerians had an incredible capacity to adapt in any environment and to thrive against all odds.
The Nigerian former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, revealed how he rejected to become an American citizen, because he believed that God did not make a mistake creating him a Nigerian.
He said “Take to anywhere in the world you will find Nigerians. We have an incredible capacity to adapt in any environment and to thrive against all odds. Whether in literally art, music, fashion, hospitality, engineering, sports, medicine, science and technology, mathematics, finance or in the International Development, Nigerians in diaspora are pacesetters.
“We lead as Nigerians in diaspora for one simple reason; I believe, we have genes of excellence programmed into us as Nigerians.
“Today for the first time in our history a Nigerian is the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, a Nigerian is the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, a Nigerian is the President of the African Development Bank that is myself, a Nigerian is the President of Afreximbank and until passing away sadly recently, a Nigerian was the President of OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries).
“A Nigerian, professor Wole Soyinka who actually spend a significant amount of time in the diaspora won the Nobel prize in literature, the first ever by a Nigerian. As a member of the diaspora I have had the honour of winning the world food price, the first ever by a Nigerian. A Nigerian Robert Okeji was named into the US National Aeronautic Space Administration, NASA inventors hall of fame, a Nigerian won the two times World Heavyweight Championship of the world, and a young Nigerian woman in the diaspora was named most outstanding chief marketing Officer in the world by Ford, a Nigerian in the diaspora hold sway as the minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Albert in Canada.
“Now, from those holding high positions to those working day and night, with a long night shift to make an honest living, Nigerians in diaspora have continue to make Nigeria proud. They never forget where their home is.”
He further stated, “Earlier in my professional career, I was asked will you stay in the United States and eventually become a citizen and I said no. I showed my colleague my green passport and I said God did not make a mistake to make me a Nigerian. I will live as a Nigerian, I will die as a Nigerian and on the Resurrection morning, I will ask God for permission if possible to rise as a Nigerian if I can hold green white green flag in my hands.”
While commending the Nigerian Diaspora Commission in its efforts in focusing on the role, needs and contributions of Nigerians in diaspora, Adesina said that Nigerians in diaspora are like billboards on which Nigeria exhibit itself.
“Today we celebrate 17 million Nigerians in the diaspora who are setting records. We have a duty and responsibility to do so. We represent ourselves and the nation of our birth. Nigerians have proven over and over again even against all odds, great odds if I may say that they can be trusted in leadership positions at the highest levels of enterprise and public life.”