Senate rejects diaspora votes, special seats for women

Senate, INEC, senates votes

Nigerian Senate has rejected constitutional amendments that would enable the diaspora votes in the national elections. 

Nigerian diaspora population was estimated at 1.7 million as of 2020 by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 

Only 29 senators of the 92 present support provision to allow Nigerians abroad to vote in national polls. For a constitutional bill to pass, it requires the support of at least two-thirds of the 109-member Senate. 

Read: Nigeria: Senate passes Civil Aviation Bill
Also read: Electoral Act to encourage the effective government in Nigeria


Nigeria’s next election is said to hold in February 2023, this development would limit the electorial votes as diaspora votes can’t be counted.

Also, in the Senate’s Tuesday vote, a provision to allocate special seats for women to increase their political representation failed to pass. Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, had supported the bill. 

Read: Aisha Buhari joins Senate to monitor review of Constitution
Also read: Aisha Buhari wants better women’s representation strategies

Nigerian elections are a reflection of how men dominate politics in the country of 200 million people. Women made up 47% of registered voters in the most recent election in 2019, yet they have just 6.5% of national assembly seats. Nigeria has neither had an elected sitting female president nor a governor. 

The Senate, however, passed a bill to empower the national and state assemblies to summon the president and state governors to answer questions on national security and other issues. 

This new development seems not to be welcomed by Nigerians, as there has been an uproar on social media, especially in regards to the discrimination on women.


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