This is a quick,straight to the point answers to an article by Francis John ??(Hope he truly exists)Entitled: “President Muhammadu Buhari and Abike Dabiri-Erewa Timeout for Diaspora Voting Rights 2019… ”wherein three main issues were raised: Diaspora Commission Bill, Diaspora voting and engagement with the technocrats in the diaspora.
On the Diaspora Commission Bill, recall that the bill was sponsored in the House of Representatives by Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa since 2008. It was passed by the 7th National Assembly in April 2015 but not signed into law.
It was represented by Hon Joan Mkempor and Senator Rose Okoh, in the House of Representatives and Senate respectively and it was finally passed by the 8th National Assembly in 2017 and has been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari. Once the Commission is populated, it would sooner than later become a reality and Nigeria will have a one stop agency for its Diaspora. At least, 26 countries have full Diaspora ministries.
Secondly, on the Diaspora voting, it is surprising that Mr Francis John, despite all the conversation around
diaspora voting, still does not understand that for diaspora voting to happen, necessary aspects of our
constitution needs to be amended. Recall that Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa, while a member of the House of
Representatives, sponsored a bill for diaspora voting seeking necessary amendments to our laws but majority of members of the House of Representatives voted against it, with the excuse that Nigeria was not ready for Diaspora voting.
Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa recently met with INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu on April 26, 2018 . INEC made
it clear that they are set for Diaspora voting. President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed support for same.
But without the legal backing by the National Assembly, nothing can be done. Mr Francis John should,
channel his energy to lobbying and appealing to the National Assembly to make it happen.
In the meantime, a technical committee has been set up made up of officials of INEC and office of the SSA diaspora with some other stakeholders to continue ground work on the matter
Lastly, at no other time has the Federal government engaged technocrats in the diaspora more than ever
before. Many Proffessionals and experts in Diaspora are being engaged and positive results are being
The Office of Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora is also partnering with
Institutions such as Department of Diaspora and Trans-National studies, University of Ibadan and University of Lagos,
for research and academic ways of deepening meaningful engagements.
S.A. Media to Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa