Nigerians in diaspora contribute $20b to country’s economy-APC Canada

Nigerians in diaspora contribute $20b to country’s economy-APC Canada

The All Progressive Congress ( APC) says that Nigerians in diaspora do contribute $20 billion annually to the country’s economy, stating that there is need for provision to make them vote and voted for. 

The Vice Chairman of APC in Canada, Dr Abiola Oshodi, stated this while speaking at the diaspora voting conference moderated by the Senate  Leader, Senator Bamidele Opeyemi.

Oshodi explained that there was need for diaspora voting for Nigerians outside the shore of the country could contribute immensely to the development of their fatherland through representation.

“ It is a pleasure mixed with pain, disappointments, visceral passion for change, and a shrilly voice of patriotism.

“ And it is an upteenth opportunity for me preach again on the rights of Nigerians in diaspora to vote and even be voted for . Because we don't deserve less.

“We are ambassadors of Nigeria. And home calls us to service, duty and patriotism. We work under cold sheets of ice to remit $20 billion home annually.

“ To stress how important the diasporan contribution is to the Nigerian economy: Our nation is borrowing $3 billion dollars from Afrexim Bank to be repaid for years at an interest. Another $7 billion is to be gotten from securitization of our annualized dividends from Liquified Natural Gas. 

“These two interventions are meant to pay the backlogs of forex and reduce the pressure on the Naira. But irrespective of how helpful this intervention might seem , the bigger truth is that a borrower is servant to a lender,” he stated.

Oshodi said that the funds were a remittance inflow of Nigerians living in US, Canada, UK, France and other countries.

“ These are almost free funds. Not foreign loans. But free dollars, pounds, euros sent by Nigerians abroad to pay the school fees of a nephew, hospital bills of a mother in law, set up a dialysis centre, repair old bridge constructed by the community  to connect the next town.

“ $20 billion! Huge funds. Big money. Yet freely given to Nigerian banks, and Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) for onward transmission to aid local businesses and even service our foreign debts. 

“And $20 billion is a fraction of the potential that we could do. In 2022 India remitted home $111 billion , Philippine did $39 billion , and Egypt did $28 billion. 

“The marker between these three countries is their nationalities abroad are permitted to vote and participate effectively in their political processes. 

“If only we would be recognized and encouraged to participate in our election process and representation of our people during the voting process, we too would contribute so much to the sustainability of our country,” he said. 

The APC Vice Chairman, who commended  the Nigerian Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, for sponsoring the Diaspora Voting Bill, said that it was high time Nigerians in diaspora were given stake on the conference table of Nigeria, adding that “we deserve to be equal partners just like other stakeholders..”

According to him, there are about 15 million  of Nigerians comprise of doctors, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs, artists, and professionals of all kinds living outside the  country. 

“If Nigerians abroad were classed as a state, it would be the largest state in the country. Our voting strength would be higher than Kano and it would eclipse Lagos.

“ Why should this important bloc be excluded from the political process? Who knows, maybe there is fear that our number could tilt established voting trend and change things since it obviously would be tougher to buy a Canadian - Nigerian consultant psychiatrist with a bag of rice. 

“But isn't such philosophy the needed one to change voters behavior and reduce  pressure on candidates who need huge sums to buy our people over at  elections?,” he stated. 

Oshodi, a Canadian-Nigerian consultant psychiatrist, described Nigerians abroad as a patriotic stock, a polished breed and well travelled folks, saying , it was wise to draft diasporans who were used to living according to their means into participation in the political process of the country.

The APC chieftain said that acquired cultures got from saner climes where laws were feared and obeyed could impart more on the orientation of the average Nigerian to be better citizens if only Nigerians in  diaspora would  be permitted. 

Oshodi asked the Nigerian legislature to provide a nationwide legal infrastructure within the Electoral Act for overseas voting. 

“Our constitution  and laws must be reworked to accommodate the innovation. Of course the path towards Diaspora Voting is fraught with challenges, including logistical, legal, and administrative hurdles. However, these challenges are not insurmountable. We must work collectively to overcome them,” he said.

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