By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Federal Government has pledged to support any mechanism for the inclusion of Nigerian Diasporas to participate in future elections.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Geoffrey Onyeama disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a seminar on the validation of proposed National Policy on Diaspora matters.
Onyeama, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sola Enikanolaiye, said Nigerians abroad were crucial to the socio-political and economic development of the nation, hence the government would support mechanism for their inclusion in future elections.
“To achieve the immense potentials of the Diaspora, there is the need for effective promotion and harnessing of the capacity of Nigerians at home and abroad, for the socio-political and economic development of the nation. In addition, the empowerment of Nigerians in the Diaspora as change agents for national development should be speedily scaled up.
“On our part, we deeply support mechanism for the inclusion of Nigerian Diasporas to participate in future elections”, he said.
Also speaking, Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Senator Rose Oko, stated that her committee had been in touch with INEC on Diaspora voting and disclosed of assurances from the commission that everything was being done to create environment for Nigerians abroad to participate in future elections.
She stated that Nigeria had a huge Diaspora potentials that if properly harnessed would contribute to the development of the country.
On her part Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, harped on the need to integrate Nigerian professionals in Diaspora to the development of the country.
While disclosing that it was the Irish Diaspora that saved Irish from recession, expressed confidence that Nigerian Diasporas can even do much more if given the opportunity, adding that the essence of the seminar was to see how the country can be harnessed the potentials of Nigerians abroad.
“We are not saying pack your bags and come home, we are saying wherever you are, we want you to be involved. And the government is reaching out to them for the sake of Nigerians.
“The Irish Diaspora saved Irish from recession. A thousand Irish Diaspora gathered in a room and decided to save the country from recession. We can do that for Nigeria, and even much more because we have the human resources which is our greatest asset and we have to make use of them.
“We need a policy and an institutional framework to reach out to them and that is the essence of what we are doing today”, she said.