By Prudence Arobani
The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Americas, has called for credible and peaceful general elections scheduled for Feb. 16 and March 2.
NIDO, in a statement issued by Ms Patience Key, Chairman Board of Directors, NIDO U.S. Chapter, said the elections placed Nigerians and Nigeria at a critical juncture in the history of the nation’s democracy.
The Nigerian group said living outside the shore of their country did not foreclose the fact that happenings in their homeland also affected them wherever they were.
According to the group, the focus on the leadership qualities of the candidates and the stability of the country in the elections could not be overlooked.
Key said: “The Nigerians in the diaspora are eagerly looking forward to credible elections to help sustain and strengthen our democracy.
“The desire of the Nigerians, both at the homeland and in the diaspora, is to experience peaceful and transparent elections.
“NIDO, therefore, values and supports a democratic process that connotes credibility, fairness, freedom to individual’s choice of vote, transparency and peaceful engagement and outcome”.
The organisation urged Nigerians and institutions involved in the conduct of the elections to support free and fair electoral process, avoid vote buying.
The diaspora group cautioned against intimidation of voters by security forces, but should prevent and mitigate insecurity, terrorists attacks or violence on voters.
NIDO urged “election observers, electoral officials and candidates, to avoid hate speech and essentially, potential attacks on the legitimacy of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the electoral process for political and selfish gains”.
“We, Nigerians, ultimately, are responsible for our destiny; we determine the sustainable solutions to the quest for peace and security for our country.
“This election is handing to us a great opportunity to shape and make Nigeria a stronger nation as a democratic leader in Africa”.
NIDO noted Nigeria’s huge potential in human and natural resources, and the immense contributions of Nigerians in the diaspora to the economic development and well-being of their homeland and host countries.
It, however, regretted its exclusion from active participation in the country’s electoral process, calling on the relevant agencies to put measures in place for the diaspora voting in 2023.
“We are hoping that at the next general elections, necessary measures would have been put in place to accord Nigerians in the diaspora the right to vote.
“Our contributions to the economic development of Nigeria in the form of remittances and financial wellbeing of Nigerians in the homeland, are of paramount importance.
“The diasporas value these contributions and should be accorded the right of participation in our nation’s democracy,” NIDO said.