A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and political scientist, Prince Adekunle Adebayo Ayoola, has said that it is about time Nigeria perfected the legal instrument that will allow over 17 millions of its citizens across the globe to be able to vote even as 2023 elections draw closer.
Prince Ayoola disclosed that achieving this feat would mean Nigeria, touted to be the largest democracy in Africa joining other 115 countries of the world out of which 28 are from Africa like Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana among others that have since adopted diaspora voting.
The political scientist who lives in Poland said that the contributions of Nigerians in diaspora to the stability and growth of the national economy could not be overemphasized remitting as much as $25billion in 2019 saying that people contributing this much to the national growth of the country should be allowed to have a say in its governance.
He said the diaspora constitute a large chunk of highly educated professionals and skilled labour spread across the world that have the potential to influence different sectors and organizations across the world, thereby using their global exposure to positively impact country’s development.
Ayoola revealed further that it was therefore not surprising, that the government has started exploring the diasporans as one of the real catalysts and assets for the economic development of the country, and is, therefore, committed to engaging them accordingly with creation of dedicated bodies which engage with the diaspora and respond to their challenges and needs required for unhindered participation in national development.
Ayoola said having recognised the people in diaspora as very vital to the development of the country, it is also just good this gesture is reciprocated by ensuring that many willing Nationals are allowed to have a say in chosing their leaders back home during elections.
The political scientist said it is against this background that he is pleading with the national assembly to revisit this bill on diaspora voting without further delay.
He said that “achieving this will not only enfranchise millions of Nigerians in the diaspora, but could also ensure political inclusion for all Nigerian citizens no matter where they live, improve Nigeria’s image in the international arena, and include Nigeria in the current list of democracies that have adopted some form of diaspora voting”.
Ayoola revealed further that it is against this background that many people have also been canvassing for e-voting as it makes it easier for citizens all over the world to partake in domestic elections.
The Ogun State born political scientist from Odogbolu local government said that, the 9th National Assembly would have written its name in gold if it could yield to the plead of millions of Nigerians in diaspora who wants to participate in electing their leaders back home by ensuring that the bill clamouring for diaspora voting is passed and assented without further delay.