• Dabiri -Erewa pushes for diaspora voting
The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to beam its searchlights on the moves by the Nigeria Army to embark on a nationwide exercise code named Operation Positive Identification (OPI).
The decision followed the adoption of a motion moved by the Minority Leader, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, at the plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
The lawmakers mandated the Abdulrazak Namdas-led committee on Army to meet with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, on the issue and report back to the House.
Leading debate on general principles of the motion, Elumelu noted that if the Army should go ahead with the exercise, it would lead to possible militarization of Nigeria.
He further noted that the exercise if not stopped would lead to infringement on fundamental right of Nigerians as enshrined in the constitution.
According to Elumelu, if allowed to take place, the exercise would downgrade innocent Nigerians to suspects and conquered people in their own land as well as lead to abuses and serious security issues.
He argued that the exercise would also amount to imposition of state of emergency across the country by the army.
The Deputy Minority leader, Mr. Tobi Okechukwu, who spoke in the same vein, argued that the exercise was not part of the mandate of the army but that of other security agencies such as the police and the Department of Security Service (DSS), among others.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri –Erewa, has canvassed amendment of the Electoral Act to enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote for any candidate of their choice in the country.
Dabiri-Erewa who spoke when she appeared before the House Committee on Diaspora Matters noted: “It should be a legacy that we should leave. We have been saying are we ready, are we not ready? We got to be ready soon. It should be that Nigerians in the diaspora can vote, even if it is not in 2023, may be in the next elections, we need to do that.
“The smaller countries are doing it, so we can do it. The law should come into place. You can put in the Bill that it is at the discretion of INEC. If INEC says it can do it, let them go ahead and do it. And I think it could also have a positive impact on voting in Nigeria. We are hoping you are going to amend the laws to make electronic voting possible.
“At that point in time, diaspora voting would become a reality. We are talking about remittance from diaspora to Nigeria, we are talking about people who are developing the economies of the world. We need to convince members of parliament to make this happen.”