President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that Nigerians in Diaspora would still have to exercise patience over their request to participate in future elections in the country from their bases abroad.
Stressing that a lot of logistics need to be put in place first, the president said that absentee voting was in Nigeria’s future.
He spoke at the 2015 Diaspora Day held at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, themed: “Diaspora and Nigeria Change Agenda”.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the president said that 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 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”.
According to Buhari, his administration is building a new Nigeria that requires 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”.