The Union Now in Bed with its 23 Million Third-Country Nationals

The European Union (EU) has taken a significant step towards fostering a more inclusive and welcoming environment for third-country nationals within its borders. EU Member States have reached an agreement on a negotiating mandate to update the EU Long-Term Residents Directive, which establishes the criteria for non-EU citizens to acquire long-term resident status within the EU.

In a significant move, EU Member States have reached an agreement on a negotiating mandate to update the EU Long-Term Residents Directive, which outlines the criteria for third-country nationals to acquire long-term resident status within the bloc. The proposed updates include a more flexible approach to residency requirements, targeted integration measures, and enhanced intra-EU mobility. These changes are expected to benefit millions of third-country nationals living in the EU.

Major Highlights of EU Long-Term Residency Rules

1. Streamlined Residency Requirements

The proposed updates introduce a more flexible approach to residency requirements, allowing third-country nationals to accumulate residence periods of up to two years in other EU Member States to meet the overall five-year residency requirement. This provision aims to ease the path to long-term resident status for individuals who have moved within the EU for work or study purposes.

Long-term resident status is permanent. However, it can be withdrawn in certain cases, for instance, when a person has not had their main residence in the EU for a certain period of time.said EU Council

2. Targeted Integration Measures

The directive emphasizes the importance of integration for long-term residents, encouraging Member States to implement integration measures tailored to specific needs and circumstances. These measures may include language courses, cultural orientation, and civic education.

3. Enhanced Intra-EU Mobility

EU long-term residents will continue to enjoy the right to intra-EU mobility, enabling them to move and reside in other EU Member States for work, study, or other purposes. However, this right remains subject to certain conditions, such as labour market assessments by Member States to ensure that their domestic labour markets are not negatively impacted.

This right to intra-EU mobility is not an automatic right but is subject to a number of conditions. Such a condition is that member states may assess the situation of their national labour markets in case an EU long-term resident moves to their country from another EU member state for work.

4. Enduring Rights and Protections

Once granted, long-term resident status is permanent, providing individuals with long-term stability and security of residence within the EU. However, the directive also outlines specific circumstances under which this status may be withdrawn, such as prolonged absences from the EU or engagement in activities that threaten public security or order. By streamlining residency requirements, promoting integration, and upholding the right to intra-EU mobility, the directive aims to empower non-EU citizens to contribute meaningfully to EU society and achieve their full potential.

Data Snapshot

According to Eurostat data, as of the end of 2020, approximately 23 million third-country nationals were legally residing in the EU, accounting for 5.1% of the EU population. Among these individuals, over ten million held a long-term permanent residence permit. These figures underscore the growing role of non-EU citizens within the EU’s social fabric.


The proposed updates to the EU Long-Term Resident Status Directive represent a significant step forward in promoting integration and mobility for third-country nationals within the EU.

By streamlining residency requirements, emphasising integration measures, and upholding the right to intra-EU mobility, the directive seeks to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for non-EU citizens, enabling them to fully contribute to the EU’s economic, social, and cultural landscape.

Inspired by an article by: Manish Khandelwal | Photo Credit: Freepik

By streamlining residency requirements, emphasizing integration measures, and upholding the right to intra-EU mobility, the directive seeks to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for non-EU citizens, enabling them to fully contribute to the EU’s economic, social, and cultural landscape.

Partnerships for Achieving Nigerian Diaspora Voting

Providing editorial consultancy for this documentary film project, it was my pleasure to assemble four critical resource persons under the leadership of Diaspora Industrialist and Author, Dr John C. George, to provide penetrating insights into how far Nigeria has come on Diaspora Voting. The discussants equally delved into what exactly needs to happen to make Diaspora Voting happen. The outcome is a unique cross-fertilisation of ideas.

Nigerian Diaspora Voting may be a long time in coming but it no longer is a matter of if it will happen. It is now a question of when.

Africa’s Justifiable Coups

Military coups in Africa over the decades

I was barely 6 months old when in January 1966, the first military seizure of power took place in my birth country Nigeria. Some 34 years thereafter, military rule held sway in Africa’s most populous nation. To a large extent, I could be rightly described not only as a ‘Warchild’ but also as a product of a military environment. To say the least, it is traumatising and perhaps psychologically deforming.

Outside textbook theories of the meaning of democracy, our generation of Nigerians only started learning in practical terms what true democracy is all about as from 1999. Some of us are adaptable but for very many of us, in our mid to late 30s, it was too late. Brut force, getting things the hard way, lack of inner peace, violence, aggression, and other vices had formed or deformed our psych. But not all of us!

While some of us believe these vices are normal, others consider them grossly abnormal. So we understand it when both young and old take to the streets embracing the military because they said they are the new messiahs that will bring them the good life, the prosperity that has eluded them for way too long.

When Bob Marley of blessed memory talked about chasing away the crazy baldheads out of the town, I now know that he was talking of no other than these African leaders that have determined that the children of Africa will not see or know peace.

The list is a mixed bag ranging from the often revered Gadaffi, who took over power by force, hung in there for 42 years and died in there rather than give power up. We can’t forget Omar Bongo either who stayed in for over four decades. Obiang is doing 44 years and counting while preparing his son, the Vice President to step in at any given moment. What about Museveni who has spent 38 years so far and won’t tolerate any opposition? We can’t loose sight of Paul Biya, can we? He’s been around as President for over 40 years and counting. But for a 4 year hiatus, Dennis Sassou Nguesso has held sway for 39 years. There are also the emerging oligarchs like Paul Kegame and Ali Bongo who have by one crooked means or the other have made the rulership of their fatherland a personal estate.

Do these abnormalities justify disruption of constitutional orders? No, not at all! While some of us maintain that coup is and remains an aberration, we understand the psychology of those who applaud the military boys for stepping in. The cliché that those who make peaceful coexistence difficult only makes violent dissent inevitable, comes handy here.

In all of these, some interesting queries around reshaping the world order are emerging. A couple of key emerging question are how well for Africa Western democracy is for the continent given that it was a forced system? Also how do you deal with neo-imperialism and its impact in retarding Africa’s growth? These are all germane issues worthy of interrogation but they should not be mixed up with the menace of power seizure with the barrels of the gun. These must be handled in isolation from the other even as closely related as they are.

To demonstrate the nature of coup as an aberration, there’s often a denial by ‘coupists’ that they committed a coup. An instance was in 2017 when in Zimbabwe, a military takeover brought Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule to an end. Major General Sibusiso Moyo, who was one of the masterminds of the operation, appeared on television at the time, flatly denying it was a military takeover. In April 2021 after the death of the Chadian leader, Idriss Déby, the army installed his son as interim president, leading a transitional military council. His opponents called it a “dynastic coup” not a classic coup!

Two US researchers, Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne probably has the most plausible explanation for this denial when they concluded that coup leaders almost invariably deny their action was a coup in an effort to simply appear legitimate. One illegitimacy can not correct another or a hundred illegitimate actions.

My realist friend and comrade, Adetunji Omotola’s bluntness on this matter of coup in Africa is a truism that stirs us all in the face when he asserted that he sees all dictatorships collapsing this year with military take over of power. Irrespective of which side of the divide one is, there is perhaps a silent realisation that the soldiers might have naturally been assigned the role by Bob Marley of chasing the crazy baldheads out of town.

Reflections out of Father’s Day

It took till late morning before we finally crawled out of bed after reviewing and sending a few enquiries over WhatsApp and receiving one or two calls.

One of the enquiries in particular was seeking permission to republish an interview I had back in February 2017 by Arukaino Umukoro of Sunday Punch Nigeria on Fatherhood:

Raising kids in Europe is challenging – Nweke.

I was flattered to read that this particular online media was keen to republish the interview as their lead article on the occasion of Father’s Day. I got even more flattered to learn that since its debut, the piece had been republished hundreds of times by different media outlets. Nice to know that people take active interest on the subject of fatherhood! And that my experience could be an inspiration to young fathers like those I fathered.

We shared the kitchen, Tonia and I, although at a point I was basically chased into a corner of the dining table while her preparation of moi-moi took all available spaces. The deal was for each one of us to make her / his favourite dish for Father’s Day.

I chose to make my Giant Meat Pie and Tonia, her Nigerian beans-cake, Moi-Moi. Yummy 😋

Just as I was putting on records that if the Giant Meat Pie turned out bad, it has to be because she dominated the kitchen, I felt a hand on my shoulder “Happy Father’s Day Daddy. How much longer will lunch take?” Meanwhile the oven had only just been pre-heated.

Everyone loved both delicacies or so my polite family said. The rest of the day was between my TV sofa, the fridge and the dinning room. Call it an ideal Father’s Day!


Thinking aloud on ethics & political sagacity


I neither called for a vote nor formally withheld my support for the motion. Thus in all political fairness, I have voted to continue an obnoxious system. As the more sagacious and experienced politician than I was, he ended his media submission with: “Collins is showing early signs of election fever. Please don’t take him seriously”

As political newcomer in my first term as Councillor for Social Affairs during the 2006 – 2012 legislative period, one of the issues that I took up the ruling socialist #leadership in council was on favouritism. More specifically, I was piqued to discover on assumption of duties that children of councillors and top civil servants were given priority in the selection for vacation #jobs in the Centre for Social Welfare. The favouritism went so far to the point that as Councillor, if you had no kids of schooling age, you could bring in grandkids, nephews, nieces or just anybody of your fancy. Just submit the name and that was it, no questions asked. As a matter of fact, the #vacancies were neither published anywhere nor publicly announced.

What I wondered aloud about was why would my kids be given priority over other kids just because their dad was Councillor? What happens then to competence? Does been my kids automatically make them more competent or better qualified than other kids, I queried the Council Chairman at the time.

I went further to suggest that if any prioritising was needed, we should consider children of clients on living wage and income support. These are exactly the #people whose networks are limited, if they have any at all. If we were serious about dismantling generational poverty, which was prevalent in our constituency at the time, that could be a place to start from. Council #leadership has sufficient #network to get their kids a vacation #job in just about anywhere in the private sector. If they are keen on their kids getting the public sector #experience, then they must compete for the job with others. Throw the student job market open, I persuaded.

At the end of my interpellation, I made what in my view at the time was a constructive proposal, but one which turned out, on the benefit of hindsight, to be politically naive. I do not wish to vote against the motion or to abruptly dislodge the existing order. But I implored Council to amend this order against the next #recruitment season a year away. We now have a whole year to plan and make a transition to a fair and equitable system.

When the #media later picked up the story and questioned the socialist Council Chairman, he denied that anything like that happened. In fact he concluded his denial by convincingly pointing to official Council records which didn’t register any objections to the motion. The motion was unanimously carried. Indeed mine were observations and recommendations. I neither called for a vote nor formally withheld my support for the motion. Thus in all political fairness, I have voted to continue an obnoxious system. As the more sagacious and experienced politician than I was, he ended his media submission with: “Collins is showing early signs of election fever. Please don’t take him seriously”

At the time, a truly independent media was scarce in my constituency. The Socialists had been in #power for such a long time and so highly networked that most journalists will rather look the other way than do a thorough investigative job. But not Johannes Hosten of the regional newspaper “De Zeewacht”. The young fearless reporter interviewed persons who in his words “were in a position to know the facts”. They all collaborated the denials of the Chair. He then went into public archives to dig up Council reports of the Sitting, which indeed confirmed my narrative. And he stated it as such, to the envy of the true progressives.

Fast forward to a decade later, when news broke about former UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, nominating his father for the 2023 Honours List for Knighthood. I had a moment to ponder over what I’d do. Would I nominate a family member for Honours List if I were in Johnson’s shoes? How similar or dissimilar is this to my vow never to favour family in public appointments? Recall that my point was not that my kids and those of other Councillors should not apply. Just that they should not be favoured based on our privileged positions. Indeed why should they be discriminated upon just because their parents are politically exposed?

In Boris Johnson’s shoes, I will nominate my father for Knighthood if I’m convinced that he’s qualified. I do not believe that it’s fair to discriminate against family because it’s family. Nominate but allow the system to run its full course without interference. There is still that little voice in me raising the question of #ethics. Is there an ethical question here or could this be that I have now attained the level of political sagacity that I lacked way back in the days. I kind of think that if political sagacity equates favouritism, then I’d rather remain political naivety. Not sure, just thinking aloud.

Winning pensions reform war but may loose the battle

French Parliamentarians in Protest Against Pension Reforms

Though Macron may ultimately be vindicated, people hardly forget legislations seen to be brutal, inhuman, and degrading. More so when they hear those on the other side of the divide tell them that there are alternatives to cutting too close to their bones.

French President Emmanuel Macron had his Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne trigger art. 49.3 of the French Constitution, to bypass the National Assembly in an attempt to push through unpopular pensions reform Bill without a vote.

French citizens have taken to the streets in protest. Parliamentarians are equally revolting. A call for a vote of No-Confidence is almost certain to fall anytime soon.

The dual questions here are: why did President Macron take this rather unconventional route, a serious political risk? How measured is this risk, will he survive a confidence vote?

Succinctly put, pensions reform was at the heart of Macron’s campaign for re-election. The Bill is a political exigency and Macron’s flagship legislation after re-election. He can’t be seen to have abandoned the cause and the course. Characteristically, he’s confident that the benefits of the reform will vindicate him in quick enough time for citizens to forgive him ‘his reform sins’. In other words, Mr President believes he can warm himself back to the hearts of French people.

On no-confidence vote, there is no combined, organised opposition against Macron, not on this pension reforms. Non-Bedfellows can hardly unite in the National Assembly to kick Macron out through a no-confidence vote.

President Macron’s undoing might turn out to be the abysmally low morale in France. The everyday French sees retirement as a bright spot in the future. And Macron has moved that bright spot further, thereby prolonging, at least their agony. Though Macron may ultimately be vindicated, people hardly forget legislations seen to be brutal, inhuman, and degrading. More so when the hear those on the other side of the divide tell them that there are alternatives to cutting too close to their bones.

This all looks like a war Macron will win but will loose the battle.

I joined Precious Amayo of TVC Latest News Update to dissect the French palaver… but only barely due to technical glitches. But here you have my more expansive perspectives Emmanuel Igah

Rescuing a Country from Political Hostage Takers

“The truth as it is known is that most parties in advanced countries engage in polling. APC and PDP are no exception here, as they have their own pollsters. They have consistently queried every poll, projecting Peter Obi as the winner while refusing to publish theirs” – Amb. Joe Keshi

There are good reasons to be sceptical about opinion polls. However when polls after polls consistently put a particular candidate in the lead against his major challengers, and incrementally too, one should begin to pay closer attention.

We are talking of pollsters which include both entities leaning towards the Labour Party, the political platform of the projected winner of Nigeria’s forthcoming presidential election and independent international entities.

Some will tell you that the real poll to believe is the one on the 25th of February. For them you are not supposed to pay attention to any polls, they’d tell you. Some of them will readily cite the example of all polls pointing to the direction of Hilary Clinton as winner of the presidential election before last in the US. But Donald Trump emerged winner. While indeed Mrs Clinton won the popular votes as polls projected, that example may be right because Mr Trump took the electoral college and therefore won the Presidency.
Could this be the scenario that will play out in Nigeria. Could Peter Obi win the most votes across the nation yet he did not win 25 per cent of States of Nigeria? Some have asserted that the other two major contestants have actually commissioned there own polls but have suppressed the results because it does not favour them. They have then instructed their surrogates to play down Peter Obi’s lead with just any excuses , very much like what the Igbos of Nigeria refer to as the spittle with which the stench of a fart is endured.

The arguments against the Peter Obi lead and his electoral favourability status may have credibility if those on the other side could produce credible independent polls showing Obi as less favoured presidential candidate. Across the world, opponents playing down unfavourable polls is commonplace. Apart from sustaining the enthusiasm of supporters is known to be the general strategy here. In Nigeria, an additional reason is to allow space for electoral fraud by the major parties commonly known as rigging. Faith in the electoral system and process is abysmally low in Nigeria if it exists at all. Some conspiracy theories have indeed alluded the ongoing nationwide currency redesign crisis to a preconceived scuttling of the elections because the signs are not looking good for the powers that be.

Peter Obi’s predicted occupancy of Aso Rock Presidential Villa come May 2023 is becoming too difficult to ignore. That is if the election is allowed to hold in the first place.