Nigeria as a country has more people in diaspora than any other nation on the planet. Not only do Nigeria has more people in every corner of the world, they are mostly Nigerias best. You name it, they are there massively – USA, Britain, France, Japan, China, Germany, Sweden, Dubai, Canada just to name a few.
Most Nigerians have the opportunity of having dual citizenship. Take the United States, you can be a US citizen and a Nigerian citizen at the same time, commonly referred to as Dual citizenship. But most Nigerians abroad are not citizens of their host countries, meaning that; they can not, and do not vote in those host counties.
To make the matter worse, they can not, and do not vote in Nigeria either. There is simply no provision in place for them to vote in their various host countries. This situation is what Fela referred to as beast of no nation.
One would think that Nigeria having most of her finest and brightest men and women scattered around the world would have considered putting a system in place for those who have been exposed to systems that actually works (like that of the United States) to have the opportunity to vote wherever they are, so as to help shape the collapsing syatem in Nigeria. Till date, no such in place.
I believe some people in position of authority in Nigeria -the policy makers know that such a move would greatly benefit Nigeria. Perhaps they just chose to leave it the way it was so as to keep things local, even though it does not benefit the country. I am not referring to this present administration in particular. I am referring to all the past Nigeria administration since independence in 1960.
There is fear of competition, fear of change, and fear of Nigerians in Diaspora influence for positive change that may block or eradicate bribery and curruption.
Nigerians in Diaspora has been exposed to systems that actually works. All we need to do is copy the system. It is not illegal to do so. There is no patent on democracy. In fact, the United States encouraged developing countries, and all countries around the world to copy their democracy. The question is, what is holding us back? Why do we find it difficult to copy what has been developed, tested and proved to work? We copy 419, credit card fraud, embezzlement and corruption, why not copy the good things that could effect a positive change in our lives and those of our children?
It is high time for us as Nigerians to wake up. Nigerians in Diaspora needs to begin voicing their opinions, and making their voices heard. They need to start demanding implementation of whatever works in their host countries, to be implemented in Nigeria. We are too quiet, doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Nothing would change if our leaders assume we have nothing to contribute.
I am therefore recommending the following actions to be considered :-
* That all Nigerian in Diaspora should be issued a PVC through the embassies in their host countries.
* That Nigerians in Diaspora should be allowed to vote at the various embassies of their host countries.
* That the Nigerian Ambassador for those host countries should invite delegates from the United Nations or the Embassies in their host countries, or Nigeria Electoral Commission to coordinate and supervise the voting process.
* That the Nigerian Ambassador to those host countries or delegates from the United Nations should tally the votes and send it to the Nigeria Electoral Commision for inclusion in the final election result.
* That the Nigeria Electoral Commission needs to advertise and adequately publicize the date, time and location of each voting centers in various countries.
There is nothing new in what l am recommending to our leaders. The United States make provisions for Americans serving in the military abroad to vote in absentia through mail and other means, because they do not want to disenfranchise members of their military serving abroad. They gave them the opportunity to make their voices heard, and their votes count. We can do the same. Turning away from such simply means we do not mean well for Nigeria. We should not put our own ego and interest above the national interest.
I know that some Nigerians love to focus on the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in a writeup like this, rather than focusing on the content. Unfortunately, that is part of our problem. If there is anything in this article that makes sence; let us implement it rather than trying to be an internet dictionary.
May God bless Nigeria.
– Festus Adeoye.
Founder and CEO,
WORLD Future Leaders ORG.
– A non-profit organization developing entrepreneurs and future leaders today worldwide.