President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja said Nigerians in Diaspora would still have to wait for sometimes before they can vote in Nigeria’s elections from their bases abroad.
The president said a lot of logistics are needed before they can vote, adding however that absentee voting will be possible in the future.
He spoke at the 2015 Diaspora Day held at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, themed: ‘Diaspora and Nigeria’s Change Agenda.’
Buhari, who was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, said legislation, huge finance, and confidence in the electoral system were required before diaspora voting can commence.
He said: “We are also aware of the importance of voting rights of Nigerians abroad. But to achieve this, the National Assembly will have to legislate. Diaspora voting is in Nigeria’s future.
“Because obviously there is a lot to be done including building confidence in the Nigerian electoral process. The skills and planning required in planning a number of national election in an atmosphere of continued suspicion of each party is a major challenge by itself.
“Our electoral process is evolving and as greater confidence is built in the institutions and processes associated with it we may then create voting opportunities for our citizens abroad in the not too distant future.”
The president said his administration was building a new Nigeria that required the support and participation of all, including Nigerians in diaspora.
He said: “Permit me to take this opportunity to interrogate the place and role of Nigerians abroad in the Change Agenda of the Buhari administration.
“This is because we have embarked on the building of a bold new Nigeria and we need all hands on deck.
“The time has come for talents from home and abroad to mix it up in patriotic zeal to fashion the Nigeria of our dreams.”
He said that part of his administration’s long term strategy as a government was to build an economy led by a strong and responsible private sector.
The president said that government’s intervention would come in the provision of physical and economic infrastructure and social policies that provided opportunity and succour for the 110 million extremely poor Nigerians.