LAGOS – Mr Lanre Ijaola, scribe of a group of Nigerians in the Diaspora, U.K chapter, on Tuesday said that those in the Diaspora should be carried along as the nation gears up for the 2015 elections.
Ijaola, who is also the Regional Director for Africa, Ben TV London, spoke in Lagos at a news conference to announce the live take off of the station.
He said that continued non-recognition of Nigerians in Diaspora in the nation’s politicking was detrimental to the nation’s democratic growth.
“We are pained that up till now, there is no legislation that can empower Nigerians living abroad to vote from the nation’s embassies worldwide.
“The Nigerian community in the Diaspora has grown over the years due to emigration of Nigerian nationals to various destinations in the world.
“From statistics, it is confirmed that over 17 million Nigerians reside in the Diaspora with over one million of them living in Europe alone.
“Remittances to Nigeria from the Nigeria Diaspora residents are in the excess of $21 billion as at 2009 World Bank figures.
“This adds a lot of imprint to Nigeria’s economy and their influence, therefore, cannot be waived aside,” he said.
According to him, although the Nigerians in the Diaspora do not have the right to vote, they are very influential in determining the votes of their family members back home.
“We pray that in the near future, the hope of Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote will come to pass by legislation in Nigeria,” he said.
Ijaola said that Nigerians in the Diaspora were very keen about developments back home because the election would determine if they would return home.
He urged politicians to look at Western democracy and ensure violence-free elections, come 2015.
“We must learn to display the spirit of sportsmanship and have issue based campaigns, not mudslinging people for political benefits.
“Politicians should tell Nigerians what they plan to do for them,” he said.
Speaking on the live coverage of political events by Ben TV, the regional director explained that it would assist the nation in selling its political views live to the world.
“Our Outside Broadcast Van is already in Nigeria. From henceforth, we would be transmitting live and real time to Europe, USA, Middle East, Asia and the rest of the world via our global platform.
“Ben TV is the largest Black/Caribbean oriented television network geared towards bridging the gap between home and away, with 50 million viewers globally.
“Nigeria’s huge Diaspora population can be a potent force for Nigeria’s transformation“ Ijaola said. (NAN)