Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, has assured that Nigerians in the Diaspora would soon be able to vote from their countries of residence.
He gave this assurance at a webinar organised by Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) on Saturday.
The minister stated that the federal government was working with appropriate authorities, including the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to achieve this feat.
Ambassador Zubair noted that there were about 17 million Nigerians in the Diaspora making a substantial impact on the country’s economy that could not be overlooked.
He added that Nigerians in the Diaspora were critical components when considering the country’s development, saying that the need to effectively mobilise them could not be overemphasised.
Mr Dada, however, urged Nigerians in the Diaspora to remain nationalistic and devoted to the country’s growth irrespective of the current security situation which he said was being addressed.
“No matter how long you stay abroad, there is no place like home, I urge you to remain patriotic and committed to the development of your fatherland.
“The federal government is doing everything humanly possible to address the current issues of insecurity in the country,” he said.
Nigerians in the Diaspora could also make suggestions and offer solutions on how the situation could be addressed, he added.
He, however, denounced the lack of cordial relationship with the country’s mission abroad and Nigerians in the Diaspora, saying that Nigerians should not wait until they had problems before locating the mission.
He said NIDCOM had all the instruments it needed to serve Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“NIDCOM and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one and the same, we are out here to serve you,” he said.
He added that the federal government was doing everything to solve the security and infrastructural deficiency in the country.
The minister noted that in spite of the country’s security challenges, foreigners have not stopped coming in mass to invest because of the advantages they stand to gain.
He said while there were some bad eggs among Nigerians in the Diaspora, the nationalistic ones should come to join the government in developing the country.
“In spite of the odds and shortcomings, we have to come home to develop the country, no one can do it better for us,” he said.
Ade Omole, Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Voting Council, noted that countries around the world evolve with time along with the energy associated with global trends.
He noted that Nigeria as the most populous black nation in the world could therefore not be an exemption in the issue of Diaspora voting.
Mr Omole, who is also the leader of the United Kingdom chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Nigeria’s electoral law should be evaluated to assure Nigerians in the Diaspora the right to vote.
He said this was especially so ,in view of the assistance they made to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and her overall development.