Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Voting Council, Ade Omole, on Friday called for a provision in Nigeria’s electoral laws that would enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote in home elections.
Omole, who stated this in Abuja, opined that such a provision would enable Nigerians abroad to participate in electing their representatives at home.
The chairman, who said that Diaspora voting was already being practiced in other democratic countries, added that Nigeria as the most populous black nation should not be exempted.
“It is instructive to state that Nigerians in the Diaspora make the fifth largest remittances worldwide after India, China, the Philippines and Mexico.
“Interestingly, there are 115 countries world over that allow voting by their Diaspora citizens, out of which 28 of such countries are found in Africa,” he said
Omole said that it was discouraging and expensive for many Nigerians abroad to be travelling back home to participate in the conduct of their country’s elections.
He said it was important for Nigeria, as the future of Africa to entrench Diaspora voting in her electoral process, adding that the council would be working with NIDCOM, INEC and the National Assembly to articulate the modalities for Diaspora voting.
The chairman said that it should also be considered whether the country’s Diaspora voting should be by post, proxy, electronic or by personal voting at the country’s diplomatic missions.
Omole said that the council would organise a workshop for stakeholders on February 17 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, to discuss Diaspora voting.
“The process to enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote is an uphill task that is far beyond party affiliation. It is a serious matter that must go beyond what it is currently.
“All relevant and critical stakeholders must demonstrate readiness, and articulate a reasonable roadmap that will eventually lead to electoral franchise of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“Procrastination they say, is the thief of time and there is no better time than now,” he said.