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Senate considers Diaspora voting this week —Bamidele



Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele

Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele has said that the Red Chamber would this week consider the diaspora voting rights as part of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.
Senator Bamidele disclosed this at a virtual diaspora dialogue at the weekend, pointing out the resolve of the National Assembly to reconsider the diaspora voting rights and other related issues affecting Nigeria in the diaspora.
The dialogue was organised by the Directorate of Diaspora and International Affairs, Office of the Senate Leader in collaboration with Engage Diaspora Foundation and  Nigeria Diaspora Foundation.
The Senate Leader had forthright ago sponsored a motion aimed at reviewing the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
But at the dialogue on Sunday, he justified the resolve of the National Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution, saying the diaspora voting rights would form part of the ongoing constitution review.
He said: “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,” the senate leader explained at the virtual diaspora dialogue.”
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.
He, 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.
Also, at the dialogue, the Director of Diaspora and International Affairs, Office of the Senate Leader, Ms. Shade Adepeju-Joseph said the time was now ripe when diaspora matters should take a centre stage in all meaningful conversations on national progress and development.
She noted that such conversations should be centred mostly on diaspora voting and the prospect of legislative intervention in bringing it to reality.
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