The massive drive by the Nigerian diaspora to raise funds for the 2023 presidential campaign of Labour Party (LP) candidate Peter Obi may have frightened the All Progressives Congress (APC), which has dispatched the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a surrogate of its presidential candidate,
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa, at the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) held at the Nigeria Consulate in New York on Saturday and monitored virtually by newsmen in Abuja, cautioned Nigerians living abroad to be careful not to violate laws relating to campaign funding ahead of the 2023 general elections.
At the meeting titled: “NIDOA Renaissance: Leveraging on New Generation Leadership,” the NIDCOM Chairman urged them to ensure that they observe the laws in their support for presidential candidates in the 2023 general elections
“I have been hearing stories that you are going to raise money for one person or the other person.
“Whatever you do, don’t break the laws of elections and funding in Nigeria. I think that is very important.
“I won’t encourage you to break any law relating to political funding; you know how it is operated in America.
“Ensure you observe the laws also in Nigeria.
“So as we move on, I can guarantee you that under this administration, we will continue to protect our Diasporans,” she said.
This may not be unconnected with recent inauguration of an 11-man Diaspora Committee by the National Chairman of Labour Party, Julius Abure, to organise fund-raising activities in support of the Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi.
The previous day before that Inauguration Peter Obi’s Diaspora support groups, in a media report, pledged to unveil a crowdfunding portal with a target to raise $150 million from Obi’s supporters in the Diaspora and N100 billion from those in Nigeria.
While Mr. Abure may be encumbered by Nigeria’s campaign funding legislation, Political Action Committees, known as Super PACs in the United States, like Peter Obi Support Groups, are not; as long as they do not transfer such funds to Labour Party and Candidate Obi.
In her speech, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa, while consoling the Nigerian Diaspora for not being allowed to vote in the 2023 general elections, advised them to intensify effort to engage the National Assembly so that Diaspora voting could be passed into law.
“I know that you can’t vote in 2023, but don’t be disappointed.
“Rather, you need to work harder to lobby the National Assembly to make it possible for the Diasporans to be able to vote.
“However, you have the voice and use your voice to urge all eligible voters to cast their vote.
“I urge you, as the president always says three things; be good ambassadors, obey the laws of whatever countries you are and let us continue to be proud of you and what you are doing,” she added.
The mission of NIDOA, according to its Board of Trustees Chairman, Tope Esan, is to promote the spirit of patriotism, networking, and cooperation among Nigerians in the Diaspora for their individual and collective success in the countries of the Americas where they reside.
“We are also on mission to mobilise
the vast resources of manpower, technological know-how and wealth of knowledge among Nigerians in the Diaspora towards building a greater Nigeria.
“The present board, after a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat) Analysis, identified a 3-pronged approach to the present challenges facing the organisation.
“The focus areas are NIDOA image redemption, strategic partnerships, giving back to Nigeria and growing NIDOA’s base,” Mr. Esan added.
In attendance were representatives of NIDOA from Sao Paulo, Brazil; Calgary, Canada; Washington, DC; Savannah, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Minnesota; New Jersey and