Nigerians in the Diaspora on Wednesday in Abuja called on INEC to make provisions for Diaspora voting to guarantee the rights of Nigerians abroad to vote and be voted for.
A delegate of Nigerians in the Diaspora, Mr Gabriel Okoye, while contributing to discussions on President Goodluck Jonathan’s address to the national conference, also demanded a Diaspora Commission for Nigerians abroad.
“I would like to let you know that there is no difference between Diaspora Nigerians and those in the homeland.
I must submit also that the problems that befall Nigeria befall us and the problem that befalls us befalls Nigeria.
“We are one and the same. Every Nigerian would like a right to vote in Nigeria elections and so do we in Diaspora.
“Every Nigerian would like a body that speaks and protects his or her interests and therefore we ask for a Nigerian-Diaspora Commission because we are tired of bringing good proposals to Nigeria and they take them and tell you this is nonsense.
“Then you leave, you come back tomorrow and somebody else is implementing that proposal and you get no credit for it.
“If Nigeria actually wants to develop because we’ve been citing India and all these other places, these countries embraced their Diaspora community.’’
Okoye said that the Diaspora community had so much to offer to the country.
He, however, said that for Nigeria to develop, the country must recognise and take advantage of expertise of its Diaspora community.
He also called for unity among all the various groups in the country, saying that every country had its peculiar problems and Nigeria was not an exception.
“The problem with Nigeria that I see is that you’re going to find an Igbo man who would die for an Igbo cause, a Yoruba man who would die for a Yoruba cause, and Hausa man who would die for an Hausa cause.
“But, unfortunately, you may not find one who would die for Nigeria and that is a problem.
“The Americans would die for America at any time and they do have ethnic problems too. We have the native Indians, the Native Americans, we have the blacks.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that discussions on the President’s address entered its sixth day on Wednesday and is expected to continue on Thursday.