Opeyemi Bamidele, the Senate Leader, has announced that lawmakers in Nigeria will deliberate on diaspora voting rights this week as part of the ongoing review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
He stated that the bill is already on the floor and has been scheduled for second reading.
Bamidele disclosed this during a virtual diaspora dialogue at the weekend organised by the Directorate of Diaspora and International Affairs, Office of the Senate Leader in collaboration with Engage Diaspora Foundation and Nigeria Diaspora Foundation.
“Let me tell you some good news. Not that we are trying to bring the bill back, the bill is already on the floor of the 10th Senate. Exactly two weeks ago, we had the first reading of the bill. It has already been scheduled for second reading.
“Definitely, as the Leader of the Senate, I can assure you that we will consider the second reading of the bill this week. After this stage, it will be referred to the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution.
“As it presently is, the constitution review committee is chaired by the Deputy President of the Senate. As the leader of the Senate, I am the Vice Chairman. You can be rest assured that I am with you in this effort.
“I see this fight as a generational fight. It is about your children. It is also about ensuring greater inclusion in our electoral process. We cannot be interested in what is coming from you, but deny your right to vote.
“Diaspora voting is a right that must be recognised in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. After the passage of the bill, it will be taken to the House of Representatives for concurrence.”
After the concurrence by the House of Representatives, the Senate Leader explained that the bill would be transmitted to the State Houses of Assembly and two-thirds of the 36 State Houses of Assembly must approve to become effective.
Bamidele, therefore, challenged the stakeholders to engage governors of the 36 states of the federation and Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly to ensure the passage of the bill into law.