Diaspora Nigerians deserve to vote and contribute to the economy: APC campaign member

Dr. Abiola Oshodi, a member of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council and spokesperson for the party’s Canada chapter, in this interview with PEDRO DADAtalks about the upcoming presidential election, among other political issues in Nigeria

the The Nigerian electoral system is not there yet; you reside in Canada; With your experience there, what do you think is the way forward?

To ensure the sanctity and transparency of our electoral system, we must continue to deepen and strengthen our democracy through appropriate innovations and investments. So, the 2022 Electoral Law is a good step in the sense that some electoral processes were updated and became technologically compatible. For example, voter accreditation and voting via the BVAS machine will remove the temptation to snatch ballot boxes, although the challenge of voters buying ballots remains real. The way to go is to keep believing and keep pushing until everything goes well in the country.

Many Nigerians abroad are not allowed to vote. What can you say about that development and what do you think can be done to help diasporas exercise their civic responsibility in their homeland?

It is disappointing and very upsetting, but we believe that the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu administration, if elected, will initiate legislation that will allow diasporas to vote, and we can contribute our share to shape the future of our country.

Even if diasporas are allowed to vote, do you think their votes can have any substantial effect on the outcome of the elections?

The Nigerian diaspora is an integral part of Nigeria, although many of us leave the country for different reasons. The biggest truth is that we all dream and wish for a bigger Nigeria that we can call home. It is in this context that many of us are very involved in the Nigerian political process at different levels. We are stakeholders in the Nigerian project, and we send over $25 billion annually to Nigeria, and we can send more, especially if there are very clear development pathways, as stated in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s manifesto of renewed hope, where we can associate with the government under different models of commercial alliances.

Many of us also have substantial influence over our family at home who look up to us and also listen to us so that they can make the right choice. We can sensitize our people, educate them and mobilize them to the polls in February 2023 to elect Asiwaju as the next President of Nigeria.

Yes, if we are allowed to vote, we will become a major voting bloc in Nigeria’s political trajectory. Someone like me wishes to be one of the great minds willing to help birth a new Nigeria under the leadership of Asiwaju Tinubu. This influenced my decision to join pro-Bola Ahmed Tinubu support groups.

A commission, NIDCOM, is formed specifically for those in the Diaspora; Can you give us your opinion on the commission’s performance so far, regarding Nigerians in Canada?

The Nigerian Diaspora Commission was created in May 2017 when President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill establishing the commission through the then-acting president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, after its eventual approval by the 8th National Assembly. .

The formation of NIDCOM through an Act of Parliament, the appointment of the first President and Chief Executive Officer, the Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, as pioneering head of the Commission, and the ratification and final approval of the National Diaspora Policy by the Federal Government.

The diaspora commission, as it is currently structured, has accomplished a lot in the few years of its creation by addressing some of the challenges faced by Nigerians living in the diaspora, for example, in the areas of advocacy, organizing and celebration. from investment summits, simplifying the process of applying for a Nigerian passport abroad, or even being able to travel home with an expired Nigerian passport.

Among other achievements of the diaspora commission in its few years of existence, I would like to see the commission become a fully-fledged diaspora ministry and gain momentum to ensure that the Nigerian diaspora community has rights and can vote in any Nigerian election and contribute significantly to the development and evolution of a new Nigeria.

I would like to see a full-fledged Nigerian government-diaspora investment partnership, with the Nigerian diaspora organized into formidable investment partners capable of taking on some development projects, such as build-operate-transfer or public-private partnership deals in telecommunications, the technology industry, education, health, transportation and/or banking, among others.

As a Nigerian in Canada, I would like to see the Nigerian Diaspora Commission function as a fully-fledged ministry, engaging the organized diaspora community to contribute their experiences and knowledge in a much more meaningful way, as well as invest in some development projects in the country.

As an APC member in the diaspora, there is a belief that the APC government has not lived up to the expectations of Nigerians. What is your reaction to this?

People who make such criticisms often forget that Nigeria is part of the grim global economic challenges we have all been embroiled in for the past seven years, beginning with the 2015 oil price crash, then the COVID outbreak. -19 as We were on the verge of recovering from the fall in oil prices, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its global economic fallout, but despite the challenges of a significant drop in revenue, President Muhammadu Buhari has maintained assumption.

Yes, we have substantial challenges in the areas of economics and insecurity, some of which are unique to our local area. But overall, PMB management has done its best within the unique global socioeconomic challenges it faces.

Don’t you think the substantial challenges you mentioned may affect Tinubu’s chances in the next election?

Asiwaju Tinubu’s chances in the upcoming elections are very bright, and the opposition will make his impending victory quick, sweet and formidable simply because the opposition is disunited, strategically poorly positioned and lacking in focus.

For example, the three main opposition candidates are from the People’s Democratic Party: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi from the Labor Party and Alhaji Kwakwanso from the New Nigeria People’s Party.

As for the 2023 national elections, Senator Bola Tinubu is the candidate to beat; he is the front line candidate, and this did not happen by chance; it is a strategy that gradually evolved. He is well prepared and well equipped for the rebirth of a new Nigeria; he has the experience, vision, passion, qualifications and track record to ensure the successful midwifery of a new Nigeria.

Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, if elected President of Nigeria in February 2023, will be the first Nigerian President to have served as a Senator, a two-term Governor, and a party chief who built his political party along with other stakeholders, of course. , and made the party a household name winning national elections in 2015 and 2019 and hopefully in 2023.

Senator Bola Tinubu has a good chance of winning the 2023 national elections if they are free and fair, and I hope that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will fulfill its constitutional responsibility and guarantee a free and fair election of voting units. upwards.

When was your support group formed in Canada?

Our support groups were formed and launched in Nigeria, not Canada; for example, the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Patriots (POBAT) were formed and launched in 2021, prior to Senator Tinubu’s open declaration to run for president; As a follow up and to ensure a cohesive fit for purpose, we had to pitch Dr. Oshodi for Tinubu-Shettima Media Group in September 2022, and both support groups have full structures and members in Nigeria.

Do you think your support can give the APC candidate the victory he wants in the next presidential election?

Although I reside in Canada, the support groups I am directly involved with are based in Nigeria. As we are present in all polling stations across Nigeria, we are present in the media and we operate within the APC party structure, running operations from Canada only gives our support groups the identity The only one where we are serious. Help be a midwife to a new country.

True federalism is said to be lacking in the Nigerian political system; How do you think this can be achieved?

If you’re talking about federalism, which means devolution of self-governing powers to your federative units (the state and local governments that share sovereignty with the federal government), then you can say that our brand of federalism is structurally flawed.

However, in Asiwaju’s manifesto, titled “Renewed Hope”, it is expressly stated that he will reshape Nigeria if elected.

In the relevant sections of the manifesto, he promised to launch a constitutional legislative review that will ensure that states have greater control over certain critical issues, with the focus being on crime prevention, the prison system, stamp duty and certain forms of taxation. .

In the document, there is also a promise of a restructuring of the federation’s revenue allocation system, and that under the leadership of ABAT (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu), it will be recalibrated so that more funds are allocated to states and local governments for that they can better address local concerns and meet their expanded constitutional obligations to the people.

The country is really behind in restructuring so that we can set the true path towards irreversible socio-political and economic developments, and I am in favor of restructuring just like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed and as he expressly states in his manifesto of renewed hope.

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