Nigerian Diaspora Community Expresses Frustration By Polls Postponement
SAN FRANCISCO, February 10, (THEWILL) – A group of Nigerians based in the United States, the Diaspora Vote for Nigerians, has expressed the intense frustration of Nigerians abroad who fear that the delayed election is a ploy by President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling party to retain power as vulnerable pockets of the country struggle to stand under the constant threat of Boko Haram's persistent terrorist attacks.
A statement signed on Tuesday by the president of the group, Toyin Dawodu, said: “We cannot express enough our disappointment that the Nigerian elections were postponed. We have no doubt that this delay is the work of the Nigerian government, a tactic to cling to power under the ruse of national security.”
According to the group, “The people of Nigeria, both at home and in the Diaspora, have been looking forward to this vital election as a first step to bring an end to the corrupt leaders who have interrupted Nigeria's progress over the past two decades. We simply will not tolerate any interference with the independent electoral commission.
“The Nigerian leaders and their cohorts are using the sensitive topic of national security as a ruse to keep Nigerians from exercising their God-given right to elect their own leaders. The postponement of this election is nothing more than a mini coup d'état and it puts the spotlight on the incompetence of the present government. This government is confirming its inability and unwillingness to protect and secure the Nigerian Independent Electoral Commission to operate freely and fairly.”
“Any and every attempt by the government to truncate the vote of the Nigerian people will be met with an organised, peaceful protest and we will seek immediate sanctions on the elites and leadership of the government of Nigeria.”
The group warned that “The Diaspora Vote for Nigeria will not hesitate to mobilise the more than 20million Nigerians in the Diaspora to support the following immediate sanctions by the international community led by the United States and its allies.”
“We will lobby the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Government and our elected officials to support the following sanctions against the Jonathan administration and its cohorts unless elections are held:”
“Immediate withdrawal of military and financial support to the Jonathan government, except for vital or life-threatening support”
“Immediate denial of entry Visas to all Nigerian government officials, governors, and top civil servants”
“Immediate denial of visas to all Nigerian elite who have been found to be corrupt or under any form of investigation for corruption including opposition parties”
“Nigerians in the Diaspora collectively send over $21 billion to Nigeria annually, an amount more than Nigeria's entire budget, yet Nigerians who live and work abroad have never been allowed to vote in any Nigerian election.”
“This must change! And we call on the opposition candidate General Muhammadu Buhari to commit to legislation that will allow Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote in the 2019 election before we give him our full support.”
“Current President Jonathan made such promise in 2010, only to renege on his promise. As such, we can no longer consider him a credible leader to resolve Nigeria's myriad problems.”
The group therefore urged the international community to make it clear to the Federal Government that the world will not look the other way if Nigerians are denied a free and fair election.