The 10th Senate has assured it will reconsider the Diaspora Voting Bill this week, according to Senate Leader Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti), who spoke in a virtual dialogue on Monday.
Engage Diaspora Foundation organised the dialogue 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 lawmaker 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 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.”
The 9th Senate had, in March 2022, rejected the bill on diaspora voting.
The bill sought to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow Nigerians outside the country to participate in the electoral voting.
In his presentation, Mr Bamidele, the chief host at the event, assured Nigerians in the diaspora that the 10th Senate would put in more effort to pass the bill this time.
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.”
According to him, after the second reading, the bill will be referred to the Constitution Review Committee because it 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 of the need to pass this bill will need to be converted.
“It’s not just the constitution recognising your right to vote in the diaspora, your children and grandchildren and generations coming after us,” he said.