Lagos – The Diaspora Voting Right Movement, a Nigerian Group based in the United Kingdom, on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to legalise Diaspora voting.
Dr Philip Idaewor, the Convener of the group, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the telephone from London that the clamour for Diaspora voting had been on for more than a decade.
“ As women celebrate 100 years of voting rights in the United Kingdom, Nigerians in the Diaspora renew call for the right to vote in elections in Nigeria,” he said.
He described the situation as “ grave injustice and denial of basic fundamental right” of such Nigerians not to elect their political leaders.
“ We are renewing the call for all relevant agencies and authorities of the Nigerian government to have a rethink and expeditiously activate this citizens’ right to all Nigerians regardless of their abode, especially as the world remembers and celebrates the courage shown by the suffragettes who, against all prejudices and antagonism, stood up and fought for the right of women to vote in elections in the United Kingdom some 100 years ago,” he said.
Idaewor said that Nigerians living abroad felt the same prejudice with unhelpful, unjust and discriminatory laws on political participation.
He said that those opposed to Diaspora voting should have a rethink because it would be in everybody`s interest that equal opportunities are extended to all Nigerians regardless of their residence, age or sex.
“ As the 2019 elections approach, we hope that this call will be urgently attended, and every needed institutional consideration put in place to accommodate our rights to participate in electing our political leaders.
“To even contemplate denying us this basic fundamental rights amount to grave injustice,” Idaewor said.
The convener commended Nigerians who had given support to Diaspora voting, especially Mrs Dabiri-Erewa and her committee for sponsoring a bill to that effect in the National Assembly.
“ We also commend our Diaspora Compatriots who have championed this campaign in the past and still continue to give voice to this issue,” he said.