ABUJA — Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has urged the National Assembly to make it possible for Nigerians in the diaspora to vote in Nigeria’s general election in the nearest future.
She made the plea on Sunday, at the 2021 National Diaspora Day, with the theme “Diaspora Integration for National Peace and Development.”
“We are only asking for one thing, make it possible for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be able to conduct diaspora voting when INEC feels that the infrastructure is ready.”
“We are optimistic that we will achieve diaspora voting. I hope history will be made under the 9th National Assembly,” she said.
Dabiri-Erewa expressed optimism that the legislature should put over 17 million diaspora Nigerians into consideration now that the country sought an amendment to the Electoral Act 2010.
She disclosed that Abia and Edo States would soon join 33 other states in the country that had set up a diaspora commission, while Sokoto, Rivers, and Akwa-Ibom States are the only three states yet to have a diaspora focal person.
The Chairman urged Nigerians in the diaspora to be good ambassadors of the country and to share best practices with Nigerians at home.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada in his keynote address, noted the importance of diaspora voting, stressed that Nigerians in the diaspora should be granted the same opportunity to decide the governance process in the country as those who resided at home.
“All relevant parties are working assiduously to ensure that Nigerians in diaspora voting rights are attained, as we believe that Nigerians in the diaspora have the same rights and responsibility as Nigerians who reside at home.”
“Federal Government of Nigeria on its part would constantly aim to create an enabling environment by adopting policies tailored to support our citizens in Diaspora to ensure your safety and wellbeing,” he said.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization in her submission posited that Nigerians in diaspora should be able to vote through Nigeria’s embassies.
“If we are spending 20 billion dollars plus into the economy and generates taxes every year, why can’t we vote?”
“Even if we are not sending anything we are Nigerians. The thing I love about Nigeria is where ever they are, they always thinking of home,” she added.