According to the daily times report, the House of Representatives has rejected an attempt to redefine the Electoral Act to allow Nigerians in the diaspora vote during national elections.
The Lawmakers, on Thursday, denied a second reading to an amendment bill seeking voting right for Nigerians in the diaspora, citing insufficient information on the bill.
Some members said the bill was dropped on technicalities to forestall an imminent defeat, and to allow a possible reintroduction on a later date. However, it was clear that the majority of the legislators were opposed to the bill’s passage on account of the cost of the ambitious policy.
The effort had been championed by the House committee on Diaspora, led by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who for months sought to garner scarce support to get the amendment through. A successful review of the Act will authorize voting centers to be set up for Nigerians in other countries during general polls. Proponents of the amendment argue that such participation remains a fundamental right of every Nigerian of voting age.
Dabiri-Erewa argued that Nigerians abroad deserve the opportunity to vote, considering the over $20 billion in remittances they contribute to the Nigerian economy.
“I am begging so that we can allow these distinguished Nigerians the opportunity to exercise their rights,” the lawmaker said.
However, majority of the lawmakers doused that concern, arguing that the cost and logistics of the policy outweighs current federal capacity.
“In as much as I appreciate the spirit of this bill, the question is, are we ready for this now?” asked the deputy House Leader, Leo Ogor. “The answer is, we are not there yet although we are improving. The financial implication for this may turn out to be worse than the oil subsidy.”