I have noticed that many writers on the Nigerian online news platforms have started speculating about the next Presidential election in that country. I don’t have access to statistics, but I sense that a large number of the regular readers of these platforms are of Nigerian heritage, but living elsewhere, either with dual or multiple citizenships or permanent residential status in other countries.
It has been widely acknowledged that many of us who fit into the aforementioned categories are major contributors to the nation’s economy, mainly through remittance payments that are frequently sent to relatives and friends in Nigeria. It is also obvious that we are interested in seeing Nigeria develop a sturdier infrastructure, thus becoming more viable as place to spend time and invest resources.
If these points are generally agreed upon, then perhaps it is mysterious to many of us that we are not given the opportunity to participate fully in the nation’s democratic process and vote in elections. The previous PDP government was probably aware that it was unpopular in Diaspora communities, and understandably didn’t want to create a situation where a whole bloc of disaffected nationals would vote it out of office, but it seems like the current APC government is being similarly cautious.
Why is it a good idea to encourage us to invest in Nigeria and buy homes there that we barely spend any time in, but not so good a notion to give us the opportunity to participate in choosing the group of politicians that forms the government?
The politicians might think they’re being strategic and prudent, but they are also arresting the nation’s development by denying folks from Nigeria’s Diaspora communities the right to have a say in the democratic process. There is a principle at the heart of this matter that exposes them as not being truly committed to democratic practice, in the fullest sense of what that entails.