Many Nigerians in London, the United Kingdom, trooped out today to stage an Independence Day rally, while seizing the opportunity to show support for the presidential candidate of Labour Party Peter Obi and his running mate Datti Baba-Ahmed.
In Nigeria, a good number of Nigerians also flooded the streets simultaneously across Akwa-Ibom, Bauchi, Edo, Kaduna and Lagos states in support of the Labour Party flagbearers against the backdrop of Nigeria’s 62 years of independence celebration.
Dressed in branded campaign tee-shirts and holding Nigerian hand flags and vuvuzela trumpets, a large crowd of supporters sang songs of triumph as they marched around Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, Central London.
“Give us Obi, Give us Obi”, the crowd chanted as they danced around the Square. In some photos from the scene seen by THE WHISPERER, the celebration rally also attracted some foreigners.
In March, Nigeria’s National Assembly threw out the bill for an Act to alter the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for diaspora voting and related matters, thereby disenfranchising more than 17 million Nigerians abroad.
INEC’s chairman Yakubu Mahmood had argued that citizens of Nigeria living outside the country contributed considerably to the economy through diaspora remittances and should be able to vote, saying such voting was consistent with global best practices.
Similarly, the chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed that the commission was already compiling the data of Nigerians legally resident abroad with the hope they would soon be able to exercise their right to vote.
“The National Assembly is still not interested in Diaspora voting, but we will not relent in continuing to engage with them. We have to vote, it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when it is going to start,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Despite the setback suffered by the Diaspora Voting Bill, Nigerians abroad have continued to show keen interest in the forthcoming elections and have become an important rallying point for the major political parties in the country.