Speaking at a press conference organized by African Media Houses in Germany today in honor of Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) Germany as winner of this year´s Diaspora Merit Awards from African Union-African Diaspora Germany, Hon. Kenneth Gbandi NIDO president and coordinator of the Media Commission for AUADS inaugural Conference in Germany and also the African Representative Hamburg Senate Integration Advisory Council, advised Nigerians to convert their financial remittance power into political advantage in view of many Diaspora initiatives geared towards wooing their support for 2015 in Nigeria. He advised the Diaspora Media to play an active role in this regard.
He pointed out that according to a World Bank statement, Nigeria received a total of $21 billion as home remittances from Nigerians living abroad in 2013, making Nigeria the fifth largest recipient of foreign remittances among developing countries and the first in Africa. These payments are forecast to rise to $41 billion in 2016, he added. He noted that it is in the best of interest of politicians in Nigeria to factor Diaspora influence and pivotal role going forward 2015 in the next dispensation.
There are clear indications that remittance-receiving households in Nigeria have higher standard of living due to the additional income used for spending on food, utilities, education and health. At an average household membership of 5 today in Nigeria with at least one-third of this number being eligible voters, it goes without saying that voting patterns will sway towards policies which support household income; including remittance sources. Therefore it is our responsibility to ensure that our collective interests as members of the Diaspora are represented through our extended family members and friends benefiting from our remittances. For this reason there is a need to elect people with an understanding of this kind of household accounting dynamics where finances are coupled to politics as well as policies which support the preservation of family harmony and well being. As the Diaspora our contribution to national development is well documented through Know-How transfer, DFI facilitations and remittances, we therefore must pursue the political success of those that will work for Diaspora Commission and Diaspora voting rights. We can achieve this by mobilizing our respective unique base in pursuance of National development.