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EDITORIAL: Diaspora Voting

  A setback for both democracy and the economy that the Nigeria diaspora was not giving the right to vote in the recent constitutional review just concluded in the national assembly. The rejection should be reconsidered urgently too. Countries such as Greece, Israel, France amongst many others have for long taking the right of their citizens…”
Yusuf
March 11, 2022 5:52 am

 

A setback for both democracy and the economy that the Nigeria diaspora was not giving the right to vote in the recent constitutional review just concluded in the national assembly. The rejection should be reconsidered urgently too.

Countries such as Greece, Israel, France amongst many others have for long taking the right of their citizens residing outside of their borders to vote as a right. In the presidential election won by incumbent President Macron, observers noticed long lines of French voters lining up to vote in London, Brussels, Frankfurt and so forth. It was a testament to democratic values.

The rejection of the right of the diaspora to vote is indicative of an antediluvian interpretation of rights and disturbingly highlights the lack of understanding of the synergy to be obtained for the benefit of the nation’s economic performance by encouraging the diaspora to be a notable force in national planning.

Countries that have made superb transitions from under development in the past decades such as Isreal, India, Malaysia and Indonesia have used the talents and access to innovation and international best practices of the diaspora very creatively to beneficial effects. 

Nigeria has hardly scratched the surface. As is to be expected of a rent collecting economy the fixation is on the $22 billion annual remittances from the diaspora. The figure itself might be an underestimate, whether it is or not, we should aim at increasing the diaspora contributions. If we take away the contributions our perennial balance – of – payments disequilibrium will be even more problematic and the Naira weaker. 

Things have to change for their is no rationality in under using a very critical asset. We must now formalise how the capital, the knowledge base, the technical capacity of the diaspora must be interwoven as a driving force in the nation’s development process. This in the long term will be more practical than the elusive delusions about “Foreign Direct Investment”. It is for reasons such as outlined that the diaspora must be giving a greater sense of belonging and the right to vote.

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