Hope brightens for diaspora voting as Saraki hints of constitutional alteration
Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has charged Nigerians living outside the country to be more active in the advocacy and lobbying for diaspora voting.
He said this would make it easy for the National Assembly to get the needed popular support from Nigerians in carrying out an amendment to the constitution to give Nigerians in diaspora the opportunity to vote from their countries of residence in future elections.
Addressing Nigerian community in Ghana at a reception held in his honour in Accra, Saraki said even though the just concluded amendments could not take care of diaspora voting, it could be addressed in subsequent amendments, adding that matters of constitutional alterations were never time bound.
Saraki also charged Nigerians in diaspora to involve Non Government Organisations and Civil Society Organistions in the agitation for the introduction of diaspora voting.
Some Nigerians in Ghana had complained that their voting rights were being breached by the fact that the Nigerian constitution does not allow them to vote from their country of residence.
Meanwhile, the nagging issues of growing population of youths in Africa amid deep seated economic frustration, declining trade among African countries among others were the thrust of a paper presented by Saraki, in Accra yesterday.
Delivered at a symposium organised by the parliament of Ghana to mark the 25 years of democracy, Saraki’s paper drew the attention of African parliaments and leaders to the urgent need to address issues that pose threats to African unity and development.
Saraki noted that “Africa’s population of 1.3 billion will double by 2050, and youths will account for more than half of that increase adding that “We already have the largest concentration of young people in the world, according to the United Nations.’’
On the question of improving trade among African countries as a panacea to economic difficulties, the Senate President described as unacceptable that Africa’s trade with Europe far outstrips that between African nations.
Saraki pointed out that “The attention of British investors is expected to shift from Africa to Europe, post-Brexit. In the United States, the clamour is all about America First.’’