22 May 2012

Nigeria: 'Diaspora Voting Unlikely in 2015'

Photo: Maggie Fick
Election officials tally votes.

A member of the House of Representatives, Hon Charles Odedo who represents Idemili North/South Federal Constituency has stated that the much agitated rights for Nigerians living abroad to vote from the diaspora may not be possible in 2015 as proposed by the federal government.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP during the just concluded 2012 annual general convention of the Nigerians In the Diaspora Organisation in Virginia, United States, the lawmaker said that there was a lot of kickbacks that the Bill on the Diaspora Voting Rights suffered at the National Assembly, stressing that this might make it impossible for diaspora voting to take place during the next election.

Hon Odedo who is also a member of the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs said: "Yes, it may not be possible for Nigerians living abroad to vote in 2015 but, it might happen very much later because we are trying to represent the Bill."

"There is a Bill to that effect and apparently it was not well received like that of the Diaspora Commission, so it suffered defeat at the second reading. We are still working on it but it is not likely for Nigerians in the diaspora to vote in 2015 because of several arguments and controversies that the Bill on the Diaspora Voting Rights have generated," he also noted.

Also speaking with our Correspondent in another exclusive interview, Chief {Mrs} Temitope Ajayi, the Founder/CEO of Nigerian American Agricultural Empowerment programme (NAAEP), urged the federal government to do everything possible to redeem the promises it earlier made to have Nigerians vote from the diaspora in 2015.

Chief Ajayi, popularly called 'Mama Diaspora' also said that the federal government should consider the importance of establishing the Diaspora Commission in good time, adding that the Diaspora Bill was long overdue and it was high time the federal government realised the potentials of Nigerians in diaspora.

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