• Urges Stakeholders to Raise Voice in Advocacy

Mandy Park

The Executive Director, FixPolitics, Dr Anthony Ubani, has said that denying Nigerians living outside the country the right to vote and have a say in the governance of their country is inconsistent with democratic ethos and universal trends in the global community of nations.

He charged Nigerians to raise their voices in advocacy, as the majority of African countries have already instituted Diaspora voting.

Ubani was speaking at a media chat with select journalists in Lagos on Sunday, calling on all stakeholders – civil society organizations, lawmakers, politicians, political parties and the media to add their voices in calling on the National Assembly to see the importance and benefit to Nigeria of facilitating a constitutional reform that would give diaspora Nigerians the right to vote.

The Executive Director, #FixPolitics informed journalists that #FixPolitics theory of change is based on the #FixPolitics concept of the Triangular Pillars of Democracy (TPD).

Explaining further, Ubani stated that the TPD requires that three essential pillars be present and well-developed in a democratic country for democracy to function effectively.

“The TPD are: one, an engaged and empowered electorate, two, a values-based political class that demonstrably leads with Character, Competence and Capacity, three, a reformed constitutional, electoral, political and economic environment.”

Continuing, Ubani stated that #FixPolitics is executing the TPD in order to fix the broken politics in Africa beginning from Nigeria will will catalyze good governance, and human and economic development.

Nigeria is not currently a democracy. We are a monopoly democracy because the political class continue to consolidate and hold power amongst themselves not to serve the interest of citizens and Nigeria but to serve their selfish personal agenda.

Under this seamy situation, democracy, good governance and economic development are held hostage

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Ubani said that given the fact that the political has “captured” and “compromised” all the institutions of democracy including the judiciary, “it is now necessary to mobilize Nigerian citizens to work together and collectively demand a new constitution, political, electoral and economic restructuring of Nigeria to avert the imminent collapse of Nigeria into a failed state”

According to Ubani” Nigerian Diaspora represents a dynamic and vibrant community spread across the globe, comprising individuals and institutions that remain deeply connected to the Nigerian homeland and are endowed with both financial and intellectual wealth.

”But despite their Nigerian citizenship and tremendous capacity to contribute positively to the Nigerian project, Diaspora Nigerians continue to be denied their fundamental right to vote and to participate in the governance of their country.

“This disenfranchisement not only undermines the principles of democracy but also diminishes the potential for Diaspora engagement in shaping the policies and decisions that impact their lives and the lives of millions of Nigerians back home.”

Nigerians in the diaspora remain a major significant force in supporting the economy of our country. A World 2022 World Bank report stated that diaspora Nigerians remit an average of 24.3 billion dollars to Nigeria annually – an amount that represents 6 per cent of GDP and should not be ignored.

“Out of the 54 countries in Africa, over 40 have instituted Diaspora voting in their countries. Why is the giant of Africa dragging its feet on an issue that it ought to demonstrate leadership?

”We need the relevant section of the 1999 Constitution to be amended to accord the right to vote citizens above 18 who are resident in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.

“We will engage our legislators with a view to understanding their concerns so we can work with them to provide information, facts and data that can help alleviate those concerns and pave the way for them to support instituting diaspora voting in Nigeria.

“The last time the diaspora voting bill was considered in 2022, the bill received the support of only 87 legislators. Our goal is to mobilize Nigerians home and abroad, work collaboratively with NIDCOM, civil society, INEC and NASS to ensure that the bill to institute diaspora voting in Nigeria is passed within the next six years.”

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