NIDC will ensure 20m diaspora Nigerians vote in future polls, says Dabiri-Erewa
Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDC) are working towards ensuring that the over 20 million Nigerians living abroad are allowed to vote in future elections.
The chairman, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, made this known in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, weekend, at the 2019 Ekiti Diaspora Homecoming Reception put together by the state government, in conjunction with youth organisations.
She called for the establishment of diaspora focal points in governors’ offices across the federation.
Represented at the occasion by the Head, Media and Public Relations of NIDC, Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun, she argued that since Nigerians living abroad were contributing an estimated $25 billion to the country’s economy, it was only normal that they were allowed to vote in their various countries of abode.
“With Nigerians in the diaspora contributions to the Nigerian economy estimated at over $25 billion in 2018, we believe they deserve to vote.
“We are already working with the National Assembly to make this a reality in Nigeria through an amendment to the country’s Electoral Act. We, therefore, look forward to many more engagements with Nigerians in the diaspora in the years ahead,” she said.
The chairman disclosed that the commission, in collaboration with other stakeholders, had also drafted and validated a holistic diaspora policy currently awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
According to her, the Federal Government had already set aside July 25 to recognise and appraise Nigerians in the diaspora on their contributions to national development.
The state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Femi Odere, described the theme for the diaspora homecoming, ‘Leveraging Diaspora Resources for Youth and Socio-economic Development in Ekiti State’ as apt.
Fayemi said he deliberately created the Diaspora Affairs Office so that Ekiti sons and daughters living abroad could further contribute to the economic restoration agenda of his government.
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), called on all Nigerians in the diaspora, especially those from Ekiti, to shun negative activities that could give the country and the state a bad name.
Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Academics), Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Prof. Sylvester Ojo, he urged them to strive to always project the good name of the country and be of quality assistance to the jobless and the needy in the country.