The director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has joined the minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada and the chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Abike Dabiri-Erewa to advocate for Nigerians in the Diaspora to participate in the voting process in the country’s subsequent elections.
This was the crux of the event to mark this year’s National Diaspora Day celebration tagged “Diaspora Integration for National Peace and Development” organised by NIDCOM in Abuja yesterday to celebrate the achievements of Nigerians who had contributed immensely to the development of the country.
Speaking virtually as one of the special guests, Okonjo-Iweala noted that the contributions of Nigerians abroad warrant that they should be given the opportunity to decide who will occupy leadership positions in the country.
“Nigerians in the Diaspora must be allowed to vote, they are contributing a lot, and if they are sending over N20 billion as remittances every one why can’t we vote? Even if we are not sending anything we are still Nigerians and we deserve to vote,” she said.
The occasion also marked the presentation of the National Diaspora Policy (NDP), the framework for the coordination and harnessing of the talents, energies and resources of the Nigerians in the Diaspora for national development.
In his keynote address, the minister of state for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, who lauded the efforts of the Nigerians in the Diaspora urged them to do more as the government is ready to create an enabling environment for them to thrive.
He said, “This country belongs to all of us and we must work together to ensure its growth and peace as we all have a role to play. All relevant parties are working to ensure that Diaspora Voting Rights are attained, as we believe that Nigerians in the Diaspora have the same rights and duties as Nigerians who reside in Nigeria and thus should be granted the same opportunity to decide the governance process in the Country. We may not get a perfect output at first but little by little, we would achieve our goals and objectives.’’
He also called on the Nigerians in the Diaspora to deploy expertise in diverse fields especially in technology to assist in the development of the country.