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Senate Leader Counsels Nigerians In Diaspora After Diaspora Voting Bill Passed First Reading

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After a bill to consider Nigerians in diaspora voting rights passed first reading, Senate Leader, Barrister Opeyemi Bamidele, has advised citizens on what to do next.

This is even as the ranking Senator disclosed that the Senate will consider the diaspora voting rights bill this week as part of the ongoing review of the Constitution.

Senator Bamidele, a Nigerian lawyer and human right activist, was quoted as saying 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.

He then advised Nigerians in Diaspora and 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 at the state legislative houses at the end of legislative work by both Chambers of the National Assembly.

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The Senate leader had earlier sponsored a motion aimed at reviewing the Constitution.

Justifying the resolve of the National Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution, the Senate leader disclosed that 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 a 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”, Senator Bamidele disclosed.

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As it presently, the lawmaker revealed, “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.”

Bamidele added, “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 lawmaker pledged.

The Senate leader explained that after the concurrence by the House of Representatives, 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.

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To this end, he strongly urged Diasporans 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 at the state legislative houses.