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Published On: Tue, Jun 24th, 2014

Confab okays voting rights for Diaspora

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By Patrick Andrew

Come 2015 Nigerians in the Diaspora would enjoy their franchise if the recommendation of the National Conference is adopted and implemented before the elections.

Yesterday, following lively debates on sundry recommendations made by the committee on Foreign Policy and Diaspora, as well as the suggested amendments, delegates resolved that Nigerians living abroad should not be denied participation in electing the leaders at various levels.

Accordingly, they voted unanimously in favour of the recommendation and slight amendment adduced by the delegates and went further to plea with the electoral body- the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to begin to necessary modalities for the exercise preparatory for its adoption.

Peoples Daily recalls that delegates had during the debate on the recommendation poured encomium on the tremendous contributions of Nigerians living abroad. Some delegates asserted that as much as $20bn was yearly contributed to the development of the country by Nigerians in diaspora.

In one of such arguments, Eddie Erabge said in some of the presentations at the Conference held a wrong notion of Diaspora noting that Africans in the Diaspora have been involved in building the continent and these led to some of the major milestones in the continent including independence to some countries in Africa.

He claimed that Nigeria has failed to position itself for direct foreign investment and disagree with those saying that the country has no claim to the permanent seat at the Security Council of the United Nations, adding that Nigerians in diaspora should be encouraged to do more for the country.

Similarly, Andrew Haruna said while teaching abroad, he wanted to showcase the Nigeria heritage in Europe; but he found that Nigerian scholars were highly respected. “We don’t make the best use of our brains but the environment is not conducive. This report that supports the integration of Nigerians in Diaspora is a welcome development.”

He called for a strong academic exchange between our home and our missions abroad, saying that if the academias at home work with their colleagues abroad, it would change some of the stereotypes held against the country.

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