CAJ News Agency (Johannesburg)

19 March 2014

Nigeria: SA Rejects Nigerians' Poll Participation Calls

Photo: Premium Times
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan with his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma.

Pretoria — THE South African government has dismissed demands by Nigerians to participate in future polls the Southern African country would conduct.

In a telephone interview, spokesperson for the International Relations and Cooperation, Clayson Monyela, said such demands by Nigerians were “ridiculous” and “unacceptable.”

Arguing such thinking would never be tolerated, Monyela challenged the Nigerians living in South Africa to understand bilateral agreements and trade relations.

“It is impossible, ridiculous and unacceptable! What it means is that our country (South Africa) has to change the constitution to suit Nigerian demands; something that is impossible,” Monyela said.

Monyela was reacting to calls made by Nigerians living in South Africa this past weekend.

They (Nigerians) demanded that they be allocated ward council and parliamentary positions arguing that their economy contributed a significant percentage to the South African economy via the number of South African multinational firms operating in Nigeria.

“South African companies alone are the biggest investors in more than 26 African countries, does this mean we (South Africa) must have MPs (Members of Parliament) in each and every African country that we have investments?” Monyela asked.

He added, “China is the biggest BRICS trading partner, so does it mean the Chinese must automatically have seats in our parliament? There is no such a thing in the whole world.”

There were no immediate response from the Nigerian High Commissioner despite emailed questions on Tuesday.

Nigerians interviewed by CAJ News over the weekend argued that South African companies were raking in billions of dollars from Nigeria into South Africa yet Nigerians living in South Africa were not allowed to make any meaningful contribution towards policy formulation as well as representing Nigerian citizens in the country.

MTN, Multichoice, Mr Price, Checkers, Pick & Pay, Standard Bank and South Africa Airways, among others, have operations in the West African nation.

MTN owns 52 percent of Nigeria's mobile telecommunications market share, Multichoice's DSTV boasts 90 percent of Nigeria's satellite television while franchises such as Nandos, Chicken Republic and St. Elmos account for an estimated 50 percent fast food consumption share in Nigeria.

Nigeria has a population of 170 million with its GDP standing at $268.8 billion while South Africa's population is estimated to be $52 million with a GDP of $375.9 billion.

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