A former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu has called on the National Assembly to expedite legislation for the set up of diaspora voting ahead of the 2023 general elections.
In his statement issued in Lagos on Thursday, the Young Progressive Party (YPP) ex-flagbearer said allowing Nigerians in the diaspora to vote would give them a higher sense of belonging.
Moghalu, who is also a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) noted that it was expedient that Nigeria should be able to make this new system of inclusion in the electoral process happen just like it is being done in other countries like Ghana, stressing that Nigerians must have the ability to vote from abroad.
“Nigerians living and earning their living abroad is not a crime. It is their right. Their citizenship shouldn’t be denigrated because of where they live.
“Every country has a diaspora, some at leisure (people who just want to live in foreign lands), others by force of circumstances (economic migration),” he emphasized.
He noted that fast-tracking the constitutional review to accommodate diaspora voting now would give INEC enough time to fine-tune the process.
“2023 may seem far but is by the corner, especially for INEC as it needs ample time to register and accommodate every eligible Nigerian living abroad to be part of the voting process.
“If the Central Bank of Nigeria can woo diaspora remittances, we need to woo their votes too.”
Recall that INEC’s chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, earlier in October 2020, expressed the readiness of the commission to carry ut diaspora voting.
The Chairman, at the time, urged the National Assembly to amend sections of the Constitution and the Electoral Act (2010 as amended) to enable Nigerians abroad to vote, explaining that many of them made considerable contributions to the economy through huge financial inflow to the country and as such, it is only reasonable that they are allowed to express their political rights.
The bill on this matter sponsored by Rep. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe and 15 others, seeks to alter section 77 Subsection (2) of the Principal Act in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.