I send this message of goodwill to the Nigerian community in the Bay Area of California who have gathered at Open Heavens Community church to celebrate with me as I am honored by the cities of Antioch and Lathrop.
I had planned to be there. Indeed I had concluded travel plans. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control I could not make the trip.
I have always been proud of Nigerians in the diaspora and more so of Nigerians in the US and even more so of the Nigerian diaspora in California.
Some of you may recall that upon my ascension to the office of President on May 6th, 2010, one of my first acts was to open up a Facebook page to personally interact with Nigerians.
In June 2010, a diaspora Nigerian from the Bay Area of California informed me on my Facebook page of an abandoned building belonging to Nigeria in San Francisco and I dispatched our then ambassador to that city to claim the property and renovate it.
Hopefully, the building may again host a consulate as it once did in the 80s.
The point I am trying to make is that I have been communicating with you and I see you as an asset to Nigeria that makes me proud.
Elsewhere, I have mentioned that aside from oil, diaspora Nigerians are the single largest source of capital inflow into Nigeria.
In my last year as President you remitted $21 billion home. Much more than the World Bank, IMF and foreign direct investment.
My people, you are an asset to your fatherland. Because of the importance with which I held you, my administration facilitated direct flights to Nigeria from the US to Nigeria. We ensured no less than three airlines fly direct between Nigeria and the US including one from Houston to Lagos for the benefit of those of you from the West Coast.
We also ensured that Enugu airport was upgraded to an international airport and I recall that a number of diaspora Nigerians from the US boarded the inaugural Ethiopian airlines flight that landed there in August of 2013.
Again let me say that I appreciate the Nigerian community in the Bay Area.
I would also want like to thank Mayor Wade Harper and the council members of the city of Antioch for choosing to honor me for my efforts in promoting democracy. I am indeed humbled by their thoughtfulness in recognizing our modest efforts.
I also wish to express my gratitude to the city of Lathrop and its mayor and council for also deeming it fit to recognize our efforts.
I wish I could be there in person, however, I have asked Reno Omokri to represent and I am with you in spirit.
Thank you and may God bless Nigeria, may God bless California, may He bless the cities of Antioch and Lathrop and my God bless you.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria 2010-2015