FG ready to collaborate with NDVC to actualise diaspora voting, says Osinbajo
The Federal Government says it is ready to work closely with the Nigeria Diaspora Voting Council (NDVC) to actualise the participation of diasporas in the country’s elections.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said this in Abuja on Monday at a Stakeholders’ Workshop organised by the council, with a view to addressing the voting challenges faced by diasporas during elections.
The vice president, who was represented by Mr Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters, said that the present administration had endorsed diaspora voting without any reservations.
“There is need for all stakeholders, who are desirous to participate in the elections to approach and work with the National Assembly to amend the constitution in order to accommodate those in diaspora to vote during our elections.
“This now goes to the legislature to make this a reality, namely: an amendment of the laws by the National Assembly so that those in the diaspora can vote in future elections.
“In the words of the President in Addis Ababa, `you will need to convince the National Assembly to amend the relevant laws to make diaspora voting a reality’,” he said.
He noted that Nigerians in diaspora contributed immensely to the country’s economic growth with their resources and were playing a significant role in the country’s journey toward development.
Responding, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) applauded the dedication, commitment, and passion of the Chairman of NDVC, Prince Ade Omole, in the bid to make diaspora voting a reality in the future.
“I think we have heard a lot especially on the technicalities but the key thing is that we have agreed that it is desirable and that it is about time we knew what the legal challenges to achieving our goal are.
“I think it will happen. However, are there challenges? Yes, there are things to be worried about? That is why we are liaising with the National Assembly.
“First thing we need is to be practical, have a draft bill that will be sent to the legislature, which Mr. Omole has already worked on, and all the issues will be debated so that Nigerians will decide whether they want it or not.
“The idea is that a lot needs to be done. So, we need to come up with what is ours, what we want is ours.
“Nigerians are willing to do anything for their country. We should make diaspora voting possible for our brothers and sisters,” she said.
Speaking earlier, Omole said that the stakeholders’ workshop was organised to sensitise Nigerians in the diaspora to their voting rights.
According to him, 25 million Nigerians are domiciled abroad and they contribute hugely to the Gross Domestic Product of their host countries.
He added that in the whole world, Nigerians living abroad accounted for the fifth largest remittances to their home country, after India, China, the Philippines, and Mexico.