The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that it is true that our electoral process in Nigeria is far from perfect while the government have a lot of work to do to ensure that it’s deliver an electoral system that is faithful to the best expectations of the Nigerian people.
Gbajabiamila spoke at a stakeholders’ workshop organised by the Nigeria Diaspora Voting Council in Abuja on Monday, he said the administration have started the work and will succeed in its objective. “I refuse to accept as some have posited, that our existing limitations are sufficient reason not to attempt to achieve full electoral participation for all our citizens at home and abroad.
As Speaker of the House of Representatives, I am committed to achieving for all our people a democracy that is broad-based enough to accommodate all the range of voices that exist within our society” he added. He said the nation’s fortunes are much improved and its best aspirations are much more achievable when pursue them together, drawing on all the wisdom, diversity of expertise and experience that exist amongst Nigerians home and abroad.
He assured that 9th House is committed to the issue of Diaspora voting. “Millions of Nigerians who strive to make a living outside the country have as much a stake in the present and future of Nigeria as those of us who live here.
“The topic of diaspora voting has within a short time become a matter of intense public debate. This reflects the capacity of our diaspora citizens to influence the content and tone of public policy conversations here at home. It also causes us to confront the simple, unavoidable reality that this is a subject matter for which we must find resolution within the shortest possible time”, he said.
He noted that after years of struggle on the issue of Diaspora voting, “there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel” under the current National Assembly. “However, that there are challenges that needed to be addressed in the process of coming up with a law that would enable Nigerians abroad vote during elections.
“There are constitutional hurdles that should be taken into consideration when coming up with a draft law for Nigerians living in other countries to vote.
The country could not afford to do things without planning, that it was imperative to do the right thing to avoid litigations later. “I’m saying all this because I want us to make the process a near-perfect one. There are so many issues that surround the issue, and we need to address them. But I am for Diaspora voting,” he said.