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Diaspora voting: Dabiri-Erewa urges Nigerians living abroad not to be disappointed

The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has enjoined Nigerians living in the Diaspora not to be disappointed that they…

The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has enjoined Nigerians living in the Diaspora not to be disappointed that they won’t be participating in the 2023 general elections.

Dabiri-Erewa made the call during the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) held at the Nigeria Consulate in New York on Saturday evening and monitored virtually by our correspondent.

This year’s meeting was titled: “NIDOA Renaissance: Leveraging on New Generation Leadership.”

NIDCOM chairman, who also spoke virtually, urged them to intensify efforts to engage the National Assembly so that Diaspora voting could be passed into law.

“I know that you can’t vote in 2023, but don’t be disappointed. Rather, you need to work harder to lobby the National Assembly to make it possible for the Diasporans to be able to vote. However, you have the voice and use your voice to urge all eligible voters to vote,” she said.

Recall that members of the National Assembly recently voted against the Bill seeking to provide for Diaspora voting.

Dabiri-Erewa, however, cautioned the Diasporans against flouting the Nigerian laws in their bid to raise campaign funds in support of presidential candidates of their choice.

“I have been hearing stories that you are going to raise this money for one person or the other person. Whatever you do, don’t break the laws of elections and funding in Nigeria. I think that is very important.

“So, I won’t encourage you to break any law relating to political funding; you know how it is operated in America.

“Ensure you observe the laws also in Nigeria. So, as we move on, I can guarantee you that under this administration, we will continue to protect our Diasporans.

“I urge you as the president always says three things; be good ambassadors, obey the laws of whatever countries you are and let us continue to be proud of you and what you are doing,” she said.

She assured members of NIDOA of the commission’s robust partnership.

The Chairman, Board of Trustees of NIDOA, Tope Esan, said the organisation’s mission is to promote the spirit of patriotism, networking, and cooperation among Nigerians in the Diaspora for their individual and collective success in the countries of the Americas where they reside.

He said they are also on a mission to mobilise the vast resources of manpower, technological know-how and wealth of knowledge among Nigerians in the Diaspora towards building a greater Nigeria.

According to Esan, the present board, after a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat) Analysis, identified a 3-pronged approach to the present challenges facing the organisation.

“The focus areas are NIDOA image redemption, strategic partnerships and giving back to Nigeria and growing NIDOA’s base,” he said.

Some of the activities at the event include a morning breakfast meeting with state’s legislators, an afternoon AGM session of members and chapters represented and an evening gala and dinner for members and the community at large.

Participants also used the occasion to pay a tribute to the Edo-born professor, Joseph Igietseme, former chief of the Molecular Pathogenesis Laboratory, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, and the President of NIDOA in South Savannah, Georgia Chapter, who died in May 24, 2022.

Representatives of NIDOA from Sao Paulo, Brazil; Calgary, Canada; Washington, DC; Savannah, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Minnesota; New Jersey and New York were in attendance.