The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said on Saturday that her commission was working towards ensuring that the over 20 million Nigerians living abroad were allowed to vote in future elections.
Dabiri-Erewa said, “With Nigerians in the Diaspora contributing so much to the Nigerian economy, estimated at over $2bn in 2018, we believe they deserve to vote. We are already working with the National Assembly to hopefully make this a reality in Nigeria through an amendment to the country’s Electoral Act.”
The chairman, represented by the commission’s Head, Media and Public Relations, Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun, spoke in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, during the celebration of the 2019 Ekiti Diaspora Homecoming Reception, with the theme, ‘Leveraging Diaspora Resources for Youth and Socio-Economic Development in Ekiti State” organised by the Ekiti State Government in conjunction with youth organisations.
She disclosed that the commission, in collaboration with other stakeholders, had also drafted a diaspora policy awaiting the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
According to her, the Federal Government had already declared July 25, every year as a date set aside to recognise and appraise Nigerians in the diaspora on their contributions to national development.
Dabiri-Erewa, who canvassed the establishment of diaspora focal point in the governors’ offices in the 36 states of the federation, lauded Ekiti State as one of the frontline states out of 16 states that had established either a diaspora desk or office of diaspora affairs.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs, Mr Femi Odere, said he deliberately created the Diaspora Affairs Office to enable Ekiti indigenes living abroad to contribute to the economic restoration agenda of his government.
The founder of Afe Babalola University, Chief Afe Babalola, who chaired the occasion, called on Nigerians in the diaspora, especially those from Ekiti State, to shun negative activities that could give the country and the state a bad name.
Babalola, represented by ABUAD Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Academics), Prof. Slyvester Ojo, urged them to strive to always project the good name of the country and be of assistance to the jobless and the needy in the country.