INEC has disclosed that it plans to allow diaspora voting during the 2019 general elections.
Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this while meeting with members of the Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisations. The Committee visited the INEC headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.
Yakubu said Nigerians abroad have the right to exercise their franchise in all elections organised in the country.
However he stated that relevant sections of the Nigerian constitution would have to be amended for this to be actualised. Besides, challenges such as funding and modalities would have to be addressed.
Calls For Diaspora Voting Intensifies
Meanwhile, Committee Chairperson, Senator Rose Okoji Oko stated that visit was informed by continuous calls for diaspora voting. According to her, there has been calls by Nigerians in the diaspora to be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise. The committee is also encouraged by the favourable disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari to the idea.
President Buhari gave his support to the idea during a recent visit to Malabo.
Also, she affirmed that 115 countries, 28 of which are on the African continent currently have provisions for diaspora voting. She admitted that some Nigerians were against the idea. This is “because of what they perceived as funding challenges, the current position of the law on the matter and some fears about the electoral system.”