By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos, – The South African Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to solve problems of housing, healthcare and energy in the country.
The group, in a letter addressed to the President and jointly signed by Mr Bola Babarinde and Prof. Folorunso Fasina, the Chairman and Secretary- General, respectively, said these were critical issues demanding urgent attention of the President.
A copy of the letter, titled “On the National Question: Critical issues demanding urgent attention of Mr President,” was made available to NAN in Lagos on Monday.
The group, which expressed pleasure in meeting with the President during his visit to South Africa, said that the low income earners and civil servants were hardly remembered by developers of mass housing schemes in the country.
“The issues of affordability hampers ordinary citizens from access to good housing and a recent research done for Niger State shows that most civil servants die a few years after retirement from active service.
“Life after service is hard because things change sharply post-retirement, including housing. The Diaspora can assist in the provision of quality and affordable housing for the low to middle income earners, particularly civil servants.
“Using modern technologies, we can provide housing solution through mortgage financing supported by single digit interest rates. Workers will have between 15 and 25 years to repay, depending on the years of service left.
“It will be credit to this government to provide housing solution and reduce the suffering of the people,” the group said.
On the health sector, the group said that the country was not doing well taking into consideration the flight of medical personnel and the amount spent on medical tourism to countries like India, South Africa, Egypt and UK.
The group said that Nigerians in Diaspora, especially professionals in South Africa, were ready to partner the government at various levels on healthcare (primary, secondary and tertiary) to confront the health issues.
They said that this would also include mentorship of young medical personnel, exposure to the state of state- of-art-equipment, information exchange and sustainable, but affordable medical missions and training.
The group added that infrastructure including roads, water, schools buildings, hostels accommodation and other facilities also needed attention of the government.
“With benefits of hindsight and experiences outside the shores of Nigeria, the Diaspora members of APC-SA and others have solution to these challenges through making available the infrastructural fund, technical know-how and result-based monitoring and evaluation to assist the poor,” it said.
According to the group, Nigeria is energy deficient, yet the solutions are not far-fetched.
It said since the country was generating huge volumes of wastes daily, generation of energy from wastes might be a viable solution.
“Conversion of ‘wastes to energy’ is one of the means by which energy are generated in South Africa and we in Diaspora can be great partners in making this a reality in Nigeria.
“We can mobilise the fund, we have the technical know-how and relation with other Diaspora chapters to generate clean energy at affordable rates.
“All that is needed is the enabling environment and the government’s readiness to work with us,” it added.
The group, which commended the President for creating the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, appealed that the commission be populated with people-oriented leaders.
According to them, the institution should have some credible Nigerians who have lived outside the countries for at least 15 years to add value to the commission’s diversity and experience.
“The creation of some continental coordinating offices for the Nigerian Diaspora Commission in Africa, Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas will be a great service.
“There seems to be a current disconnect between the commission and major stakeholders, primarily outside Nigeria. The Presidency should wade in on this matters and see how our wealth of experience can benefits our country.”
NAN reports that President Buhari met with the Nigerian community during a three-day official visit to South Africa between Wednesday and Friday.