The Nigerian Senate says it will reconsider the Diaspora Voting Bill this week, in a move to allow Nigerians living abroad to vote and be voted for.
Senate Leader, Senator 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 in his office.
The dialogue was themed: “A Pivotal Step Toward Achieving Diaspora Voting Right.”
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.
Nigeria’s diaspora population was estimated at 1.7 million as of 2020 by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
In his presentation, Mr. 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.
“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” he said.