Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta North), has canvassed the participation of the more than 20 million Nigerians in Diaspora in the country’s electoral process.
Nwoko told The Tide’s source yesterday in Abuja that such participation would enable them to vote and be voted for.
He also canvassed for four permanent seats, one each for America, Asia, Africa and Europe, to be allocated to them in both chambers of the National Assembly.
Nwoko said that the inclusion of the Nigerians in diaspora in the electoral process of the country had become imperative in view of their numbers, as well as their contributions to the socio-economic development of the country.
He said that statistical data showed that there were about 20 million Nigerian citizens resident in the diaspora.
He added that NAIRAMETRICS.com in its report on May 19, said that in 2018, Nigeria recorded $24 billion in diaspora remittances to Nigeria’s socio-economic development, $24 billion in 2019, $19.3 billion in 2021 and $19.8 billion in 2022.
“Thus, the importance of these contributions by Nigerians in the diaspora cannot be overemphasised,” he said.
Nwoko disclosed that he had already sponsored a “Bill for an Act to Alter the 1999 Constitution (As Altered) to Provide for Diaspora Voting and for Related Matters” on the floor of the Senate.
He added that the bill, which had passed its first reading in the Senate sought to address the painful disenfranchisement of Nigerians in Diaspora from partaking in the electoral process.
Nwoko also explained that the bill sought to alter sections 48, 49, 71, 72, 77 and 117 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as altered).
It is provided for diaspora voting, with an increased number of senatorial districts from the hitherto 109 to 113, with four each designated to the Americas; South America, North America and Canada); Europe; Asia and Australia; and Africa.
Nwoko said, “The bill also seeks to increase the number of constituencies in the House of Representatives from 360 to 376, with 16 new constituencies of four each being designated to one diaspora Senatorial District for Nigerians in Diaspora.
“The bill further spells out voting qualifications and eligibility for Nigerian citizens in the diaspora.”
According to the lawmaker, statistical data shows that Nigeria’s population is about 200 million, while the population of Nigerian citizens resident in diaspora is about 20 million, which is 10 per cent of the country’s population.
Nwoko said, “In a proportional representation, 10 per cent of the present 109 Senatorial Districts in Nigeria is about 11 but this bill reduced diaspora senatorial districts to four each for the Americas (South America, North America and Canada); Europe; Asia and Australia; and Africa.
“Whereas 10 per cent of 360 constituencies, in the House of Representatives is 36 but this bill reduced it to 16 constituencies for Nigerians in diaspora, with four each for a Senatorial District in the diaspora.”
He added that the issues being canvassed by people opposed to diaspora voting in Nigeria include that diaspora lacked the requisite information to understand the political trends in the country and it cost so much money to conduct.
“This has been addressed by the present digital age, where the entire world is connected by the internet, social networking and electronic media.
“On the issue of cost, eligible voters are required to register and vote at their respective embassies or high commission.
“Staff of the embassies is expected to conduct the registration and voting, under the guidance and supervision of INEC,” he explained
Nwoko added that diaspora voting was the new gale of electoral reform blowing across the world, and embraced by many progressive nations and Nigeria being the giant of Africa and the most populated black nation in the world was yet to embrace it.
“Nigerians in diaspora are seriously yearning to actively participate and be involved in the elections and governance of their country.
“To ensure that Nigerian citizens in the diaspora exercise their right to vote, the starting point should be to create an enabling environment that will not be manipulated to suit individuals and partisan Interests,” he added.
Protest Rocks Kano Over Appeal Court Judgment
Protests erupted in Kano city and its environs on Monday afternoon with the demonstrators denouncing the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal that sacked the state Governor, Abba Yusuf.
The Tide’s source reports that uneasy calm pervaded the state capital following a contradictory Certified True Copy of the Appeal Court that affirmed the prayers of both the appellant and the respondent in the contentious Kano governorship, though the judiciary had since cleared the air.
In what appeared like a coordinated action on Monday, huge crowd of protesters had stormed strategic positions in the city as it visited temporary hiccups on commercial activities.
Kano- Zaria Road, Maiduguri Road by Muhammadu Buhari’s interchange, and Kantin Kwari (Kano textile market) were taken over by hundreds of youths who called for justice for Abba Yusuf.
Some of the placard read: “Kano my city my state”, “Justice for Kano”, “ Justice for Abba”, “Abba’s mandate was stolen in 2019, we will not allow it happen in 2023″.
The protest came on the heels of discovery by the Police that “some faceless group are bent on unleashing violence in Kano”, stressing that the police were on top of the situation.
Cp Hussaini Gumel told newsmen in Kano on Monday that already 7 suspects had been arrested and would be arraigned soon.
Gumel revealed that “we have the understanding with the leadership of the contending political parties, and they have signed a peace pact. In view of that, therefore, any one found outside this arrangement will be treated as common criminal”.
However, normalcy had since returned to the ancient city following the peaceful protest that lasted several hours.
NASS To Receive Tinubu’s 2024 Appropriation Bill, Today
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will today, present the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Secretary, Research and Information of the National Assembly, Dr Ali Barde Umoru, confirmed this on Monday to journalists while requesting the list of those to be allowed into the chamber during the budget presentation.
This will be the first budget estimate President Tinubu will present to the National Assembly in person.
He had earlier transmitted two supplementary budgets, 2022 and 2023, to the National Assembly, which the parliament speedily approved.
President Tinubu had, weeks ago, also forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly, the 20224-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) where the sum of N26.1 trillion was proposed as the total expenditure for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Senate, following the recommendation of its joint committee, which scrutinised the document, approved the MTEF/FSP.
It approved the N26.1trn proposed as the 2024 budget and other parameters as proposed by President Tinubu.
It approved the new borrowings of N7.8 trillion, pegged the benchmark of oil price for 2024 at $73.96, and oil production volume per day at 1.78 million barrels.
Other parameters approved are a GDP growth rate of 3.76%, an inflation rate of 21.40%, an exchange rate of N700 to $1 dollar, and a projected budget deficit of N9.04 trillion.
Muslim Clerics Offer Prayers For Tinubu, Kwankwaso In Kano
Over 1,000 Islamic clerics have offered special prayers for President Bola Tinubu and the NNPP national leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for peace, progress and political stability in Nigeria.
Abdulmumin Kofa (NNPP-Kiru/Bebeji) hosted the ulamas at Kiru for the success of Governor Kabir Yusuf of Kano State at the Supreme Court, according to a statement by the lawmaker’s media aide, Sani Paki, on Monday.
During the prayer session, the clerics recited the Qur’an 1,101 times and prayed for peace, progress and political stability in the country.
Mr Kofa said his relationship with the president was no secret, noting that Mr Kwankwaso is his mentor. He said he would continue to support and promote a harmonious relationship between Messrs Tinubu and Kwankwaso.
Mr Kofa described NNPP as a promising party open to collaboration, alliance and merger with the APC and even with the People’s Democratic Party, Labour Party or any other party that showed interest, so long as it is for the good of Nigerians.
He also promised to deploy his modest political network to reach out to gladiators in Kano politics towards resolving all resolvable issues and to de-escalate the current tension in the state due to the Kano governorship seat.
Also, after the prayer session, the legislator hosted 5,000 primary school kids across his constituency, as he often does, and provided them with school kits.
According to the statement, Mr Kofa assured the pupils of the good plans of the federal and state governments, especially on free education and free school feeding programmes.
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