A YOUNG Nigerian is among a selected few U.S. military servicemen who were sworn in yesterday as U.S. citizens by President Barack Obama as the country celebrated its Independence Day while also honouring the commitment of the immigrants to America’s national security.
A White House statement released yesterday morning said Oluwatosin K. Akinduro, was born in Lagos, but graduated from a high school in Houston, Texas, where there is a considerable population of Nigerian immigrants.
According to the White House statement, “he joined the Army National Guard in search of new opportunities and a new challenge to lead by example.”
The U.S. government often offers citizenship status to immigrants in the U.S. who joined the nation’s military service as a way of honouring their service and highlighting their dedication to the defence of the nation.
At the “naturalisation ceremony for active duty service members,” Obama picked out a few of the new citizens for mention, including Akinduro.
“We salute a young man from Nigeria who came here as a child,” Obama said.
Obama quoted Akinduro as saying: “I left Nigeria with the dream that we all have a destiny in life and we are all born with the resources to make a difference.”
Obama went on: “We are confident he will make a difference. We congratulate Oluwatosin Akinduro.”
Commenting on the event, which he does yearly as president, Obama noted that “I have to tell you, just personally, this is one of my favourite things to do.”
According to him, this is because “it brings me great joy and inspiration because it reminds us that we are a country that is bound together not simply by ethnicity or bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of ideas. And as members of our military, you raised your hand and took an oath of service. It is an honour for me to serve as your Commander-in-Chief. Today, you raised your hand and have taken an oath of citizenship. And I could not be prouder to be among the first to greet you as “my fellow Americans.”
The White House statement added that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director, Alejandro Mayorkas, presented the countries of the candidates for naturalisation since all the active duty military servicemen like Nigeria’s Akinduro were all immigrants to the U.S.
Also, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, delivered the oath of allegiance and the audience was composed of the service members and their families.
In all there were about 20 of such immigrants from different countries who have joined the U.S. military and were sworn-in as citizens in a yearly event conducted specially by the U.S. President at the White House.
Other naturalisation ceremonies go on regularly, but the U.S. specially honours those from the military for special focus with the active involvement of the U.S. President.
However, all new U.S. citizens always receive a letter(s) from the sitting president after their naturalisation.