By Mike Mbonye
Lagos – The Nigerian community in South Africa, on Monday, suggested that one of the ways to deepen democracy in Nigeria was to introduce Diaspora Voting.
Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, the President of the Nigerian community in that country from Pretoria, made this suggestion in a telephone chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
NAN reports that Diaspora Voting is all about external voting, which may be part of a country’s electoral process based on the principle of universality of franchise.
Anyene, who said he was proud of the nation’s democracy and would always associate with it, posited that one the ways of deepening democracy in the country was to introduce Diaspora Voting.
He said that many Nigerians abroad were eager to be part of the electoral process and that Diaspora Voting would give them the opportunity to vote for the candidates of their choice.
“As we celebrate Democracy Day with other Nigerians, it has become pertinent to appeal to the Federal Government to introduce Diaspora Voting.
“Nigerians in the diaspora are contributing to the development of the country in various ways and we feel disenfranchised, if we do not vote during elections.
“We appeal to the Federal Government, the National Assembly and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to introduce Diaspora Voting; it will give us a sense of belonging,” Anyene said.
The Nigerian community leader in South Africa also expressed the wish of Nigerians both at home and abroad for elections to be free and fair.
“We want more improvements; we want more of our elections to be credible, free and fair and acceptable to all parties; this process will deepen our democracy and we believe it is achievable,” he said.
According to Anyene, the celebration of Democracy Day is a thing of joy, considering many years of military rule and the resultant effects on the people.
“We are happy to be part of this great occasion and we wish the country many more years of fruitful democracy.
“Nigerians in South Africa will continue to be law abiding and contribute to the development of our great country,” he said