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Allow Nigerians in Diaspora vote in 2023, lawyer tells INEC, NiDCOM

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A Lagos-based lawyer, Olajide Abiodun has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to create institutional framework to enable Nigerians living abroad participate in the 2023 elections.

In a open letter dated August 8th, 2022 and addressed to the two bodies, Abiodun noted that Nigerian citizens in the Diaspora contribute greatly to the Nigerian economy in terms of remittances.

“The Nigerian Diaspora Community qualifies as the 37th state of the nation, considering,
that it out–performs general bonafide states in revenue generation. In 2012 – 2013, Nigerians in Diaspora remitted nearly USD 21 Billion, approximately N3.36 Trillion into the Nigerian economy,” he wrote.

The legal practitioner noted that Diaspora voting is the constitutional right of every Nigeria, as enshrined in Article 13 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ratification and enforcement act) as well as section 77 (2), 117 (2) 132 (5) and 178 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and other relevant sections of the Electoral Act 2022.

He added that since many other African countries have embraced external voting, Nigeria shouldn’t lag behind in this democratic move.

“The Commission and other related arm of government and or stakeholders should put all necessary things in place at ensuring the setting up of registration centers and polling units in the federal republic of Nigeria in all high commissions and embassies of the federal republic of Nigeria.

“Nigerians in the Diaspora are very entitled to be registered for the purpose of voting for their representatives in the government of Nigeria. The Commission and other related arm of government and or stakeholders are obliged to make provisions to enable Nigerians in Diaspora to register and vote in the embassies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the various countries where they are,” Abiodun added.

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