•Wants improved allocation to education
By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has ruled out the possibility of Diaspora Nigerians voting during the 2019 general election.
He also assured Nigerians that allocations to the educational sector will be improved as revenue increases.
According to a state made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President gave the assurance during an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Paris, France, yesterday.
President Buhari said, even though the population of citizens in various countries across the world already necessitates their inclusion to elect leaders, it might not happen in the 2019 elections, as INEC had been more focused on strengthening and consolidating on its achievements of conducting credible elections within the country.
The President said it could happen in future.
He added that the Nigerian constitution had taken into cognizance the need for representation in the political structures, in order to ensure harmony and development, urging more people to pick interest in governance and quality representation.
While describing the education sector as a major engine for the development of any country, Buhari said the about 5 per cent allocation to the sector was inadequate to propel the desired growth for the economy, pointing out that United Nations target of 26 per cent remains ideal.
“We are currently reviewing investments in the entire infrastructure of the country like road, rail and power, including investing more in education. We will certainly need to do more in education,’’ he said.
He enjoined Nigerian elites, both at home and the Diaspora, to do more in contributing to the educational sector of the country, expressing surprise that the elites tolerated the fall in standards and structures of educational institutions despite oil windfalls in the past that would have made all the difference.
“I am doing my best now to utilize our resources to develop the country. We are already getting results on road, rail and power. My frustration is that some people still have plenty stolen money stashed in Europe, U S and other countries,” the President lamented.
Buhari said return of stolen assets in some safe heavens will bolster the administration’s current effort of investing more in critical infrastructure that directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians .
The President said the war against terrorism will be reinforced with new weapons and hardware for the military, while the challenge of abduction and kidnapping in some parts of the country will receive more attention with better gathering of intelligence.
“We campaigned on three key issues: security, improving the economy and fighting corruption; and we have not been controverted by anyone that we have not recorded some results,’’ he added.
In her remarks, Nigerian Ambassador to France, Dr. Modupe Enitan Irele, said the Nigerian community in France had demonstrated high sense of responsibility, dedication and morality, adding that the large number of professionals had been encouraged to also contribute to the country’s development.
“Nigerians here are law abiding, peaceful and resourceful,’’ she said.
Dr. Irele said President Buhari’s commitment to change will make Nigeria the envy of other African countries.
The Nigerians in Diaspora, who participated in the meeting, raised questions on education, inclusive elections, security infrastructure and the economy.
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs, recently nominated Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Diaspora Commission, facilitated the meeting that was attended by Governor Willie Obiano, Aminu Masari and John Kayode Fayemi, of Anambra, Katsina and Ekiti states, and top government functionaries.