Senate to consider Diaspora Voting Bill this week – Sen. Bamidele

Senate to consider Diaspora Voting Bill this week – Sen. Bamidele

By Naomi Sharang
The 10th Senate has assured that it will reconsider the Diaspora Voting Bill this week.

The Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti), made this known during a virtual dialogue organised by Engage Diaspora Foundation in collaboration with the Directorate of Diaspora and International Affairs of his office.

The dialogue was themed: “A Pivotal Step Toward Achieving Diaspora Voting Right.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 9th Senate had in March 2022, rejected the bill on diaspora voting.

The bill had sought to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow Nigerians living outside the country to participate in the electoral process of voting and be voted for.

“Nigerian citizens in diaspora have shown tremendous interest in participating in the electoral process; they make considerable contributions to the economy through huge financial remittances to the country.

“Diaspora voting is consistent with global best practices,” he said.

In his presentation, Bamidele who was the Chief Host/Chief Speaker at the event, assured Nigerians in Diaspora that the 10th Senate would put in more efforts to pass the bill this time around.

He said, “We will do our best to make sure that this time around, we achieve your desire in this regard.

“When you talk about diaspora voting, it is a right; if anybody is granting you that right, it is not as if they are grating you any favour.

It is your right.

“The essence of this fight is just to make sure that the right is recognised in our constitution because the constitution is the basis upon which every other thing rests.

“The constitution is the operational manual for both the government and the governed in our country.

It is a right that must be recognised by our law as enshrined in the constitution.

“ Whatever I’m doing with you is not new.

I’m trying to build on the effort, genuine effort, people had built in the past and which they are still making.


The lawmaker further said the bill was already on the floor of the senate, “and exactly two Tuesdays ago, we had a first reading of the Diaspora Voting Bill.

“It passed the first reading and it was scheduled for the second.

“Definitely, I can assure you as the leader of the senate, we will be considering the second reading of the bill during this week,” he said.

According to him, when that is done, the bill will be referred to the Constitution Review Committee because the committee is chaired by the Deputy President of the Senate and the Vice Chairman is the Leader of the Senate.

“We are a part of your movement in this regard and then you can be rest assured, even anyone trying to convince me on the need to pass this bill, will need to be converted.

“I’m very much with you in this effort because I see this fight as a generational fight.

“It’s not just the constitution recognising your right to vote in the diaspora, your children and grandchildren and generations coming after us.

“It is also about ensuring greater inclusion in our process.

We can not just be so interested in the benefits coming from the Nigeria Diaspora community while also denying what is supposed to be your own constitutional right.

” (www.

nannews.

ng)
Edited by Salif Atojoko

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