Nigeria will bounce back, says Jonathan as he pledges Diaspora voting rights target for 2015

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President Goodluck Jonathan:" Let's move Nigeria forward"

President Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated that Nigerians in the Diaspora would obtain the rights to vote in the next general election , confirming earlier submission by Professor Attahiru Jega, INEC chairman who late last year blamed the failure this year on logistics problems

The issue of Diaspora voting has been on the table for consideration for a long time with leaders of Executive members of the Nigeria in the Diaspora Organisation approaching government on the issue.

Before leaving office, former INEC chairman, Maurice Iwu had said he was planning to experiment Diaspora voting in 2011 by trial voting in three European Countries and South Africa.

He mentioned then United Kingdom, America, Germany and South Africa as experimenting cities for the Diaspora’s voting.

The plan was overturned by the new INEC Chairman, who said that the plan for 2011 would not be visible for logistic reasons.

Last year, The Chairman of Nigerians In the Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE). Mr Alistair Soyode and Honourable Abike Dabiri  pressurised the government on the possibility and it was assured initially that the government would input in the constitution clauses guaranteeing Diaspora voting to back up the rights.

However, President Jonathan during an interactive session  with Nigerians who were  mainly diplomats working in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU) on Monday,  said :“I would have loved that Nigerians in the Diaspora voted this year but to be frank with you, that is going to be difficult now. “Presently the law does not allow the voting outside Nigeria and so this year, Nigerians in the Diaspora will not vote but I will work towards it by 2015”.

He said though, he had no plans to run for election in the next voting year, he would make sure that the law permits Nigerians in the Diaspora to exercise their civil rights.

President Jonathan during the session assured the nation once again that  he would make big marks as a real leader of the people and that he would tackle many of the nation’s current woes , noting that he would not be a rhetorical president.

He spoke on the issue of security:” Without security there is no government. So, it is not debatable, it is something we have to address and we are working towards that with vigour”

Jonathan  said the government was doing everything possible to arrest the current security  situation as relates to the issue of bombing.

He disclosed that all those involved in the October 1 bombing had been arrested are facing prosecution in law courts.

He explained why he had to order the release of the car dealers who sold the cars used in the bombing because they were just businessmen who could not have known that the vehicles were to be used for such heinous crime.

Nigeria Coat of Arm

The President, while speaking on education, said the nine newly approved universities were to be specialised and to be headed by, at least, three Nigerians experts in the Diaspora.
He however enjoined Nigerians to stand behind him during this year’s election so that the nation would be pushed forward from the current stagnation.

He spoke passionately on the issue of power: “If I’m voted into power within the next four years the issue of power will become a thing of the past”.

He continued: “Four years is enough for anyone in power to make significant improvement and if I can’t improve on power within this period, it then means I cannot do anything even if I am there for the next four years.”
President Jonathan said this while interacting with Nigerians mainly diplomats working in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union

The President, while speaking on education, said the nine newly approved universities were to be specialised and to be headed by, at least, three Nigerians experts in the Diaspora.

On the concerns raised of having a database of Nigerian experts in the Diaspora,

President Jonathan assured that he was working on creating a forum for interaction between them and government and also develop a database, where experts needed to address the various challenges of the economy would be drawn. He hinted that this was why the Diaspora Commission was being set up as the bill was already before the National Assembly.

Nigeria will arise agai, says Jonathan

The President also disclosed that the government was looking towards reviewing the country’s foreign policy to ensure that Nigeria got maximum benefit from its roles and contributions to international organisations like the AU, UN and ECOWAS.

Jonathan lamented that right now Nigeria has been denied her rights for long as her  contributions internationally were not being recognised. He  add;” There is need for Nigeria to have something in return for our investments. We are investing so much but it is not being noticed and there is need to reverse that trend.”
Addressing the concerns about road network and transportation in the country, the president assured that the railway system would be revamped because presently heavy duty vehicles were destroying the roads. “Why we cannot have continuous road maintenance for now is because no contractor wants to go into it because of the continuous pressure on the road by heavy duty vehicles. That is why we are working to ensure that we revamp the rail.”

He also assured that Nigerians working in international organisations and institutions would be issued diplomatic passports.

He directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia, to submit the list of those qualified within the shortest possible time to him.
On the 35 per cent affirmative action implementation and the domestication of protocols signed, he assured that he would present before the National Assembly within the shortest possible time.