Nigerians In Diaspora
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Here’s The Reason Why Nigerians In Diaspora Won’t Vote Anytime Soon.

Diaspora Nigerians deserve a voice in what happens at home and abroad that impact our collective humanity

Nigerians in diaspora won’t be able to participate in voting until there’s a reliable database is implemented as explained by Mr Ben Okoyen, the Nigeria’s Consul-General in New York.

He said while increasing number of Nigerians in diaspora have been trying to create a working system that will enable them to participate in elections, there are challenges in getting accurate data on Nigerians in New York, let alone the entire country.

The Nigerian Diaspora Commission was created to brainstorm this issue but it has been a serious challenge to get Nigerians working as one.

Mr Okoyen urged Nigerians to organize themselves first before any tangible progress could be made. He said Nigeria were scattered all over the country and that hope of Diaspora voting is still a pipe dream at the moment.

“It is not as if it (Diaspora Voting) is something that cannot happen now, it is important how we organise ourselves.

“This pronouncement has been made, the commission is in place, but how Nigerians organise themselves is important.

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He said so many Nigerians tend to be unwilling to disclose their full details which is paramount to the successful implementation of a working database.

“For example, if you ask people to come and register, they would not come. For us to even have the proper database of Nigerians living in the US or elsewhere is difficult. So it has to do with us.

“As you are coming now, if you tell us this is the population of Nigerians, we will be very happy to forward this information back home.

Some have wondered how this is supposed to work with a very percentage of Nigerians that intentionally distance themselves from having anything to do with Nigeria except for Passport and documents renewal.

“That is an area that we need to do some extra job. Every organisation should work toward registering Nigerians and see how to get a database that Federal Government can also rely on”.

With the country so heavily divided both back home and in diaspora, this will present a daunting challenge to say the least.

He said the image of the country abroad wasn’t helping matters but commended the noble work of some patriotic Nigerian Organisations in diaspora for promoting the good image of the country.

He however pledged to partner with the organisations to enable the Consulate to better serve Nigerians.

The Consul-General said he would reach out to Nigerians to encourage them to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Federal government of Nigeria.

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One of the strategies being worked upon is forging alliances with faith and religious groups, which would help bring people together. This was disclosed by one of the leaders of the delegation, Dr Ifem Orji.

Nigerians in diaspora are some of the biggest contributors to the development of the country with an annual remittance of over 27 billion dollars into the economy. They should have a say in what happens in the country.

“The Direct Home Remittance put at more than 27 billion dollars annually from the Nigerian Diaspora constitutes the second largest source of foreign exchange inflow into the national economy.

“Thus, Diaspora Nigerians deserve a voice in what happens at home and abroad that impact our collective humanity,”.

Mr Orji promised to continue working with well meaning and patriotic Nigerians to foster peace and promote unity among the people.

 

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