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For continuous voter registration, the Commission intend to resume voter registration in the first quarter of 2021. And once we resume, it will be continuous for one and half years, at least until six months to the next general election. In other words, the Commission is not going to resume voter registration for a week, two weeks or a month but we are working out the details Prof. Mahmood YakubuProfessor Yakubu also raised the issue of diaspora voting which he strongly encouraged and advised the National Assembly to be quick in amending the Electoral Act so that Nigerians living abroad will be allowed to vote in what might see early voting happening in Nigeria as practised in world’s greatest democracy, the US. Further, the INEC boss revealed that the Commission has had several meetings with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), but has been limited with the provisions of the constitution towards making changes in the system.
The Commission is desirous of giving Nigerians living abroad the right to vote. After all, all our neighbouring countries do so. But it requires the amendment to the constitution and the Electoral Act for that to happen. And we have already worked out the document. Once the law is amended today, we can roll out. We are ready. We have had several meetings with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) but we can’t go beyond what the law provides -YakubuCommenting further, the disenfranchisement of certain individuals during elections such as electoral officers, security personnel, journalists, and more, was equally raised by Prof. Yakubu. He noted that an amendment which could see these officials vote early or vote wherever they are so that they can carry out their duties on Election Day effectively and also participate in the electoral process as citizens of Nigeria is important.
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It’s not just those in the armed services, the police involved in election duty, journalists, INEC adhoc staff and some INEC staff don’t vote. The reason is that you are posted for election duty to places other than where you are registered, and the law says you vote where you are registered. So, if you pass some amendments to the electoral act to enable people to vote, two solutions perhaps, early voting, so that those involved in election duty can vote early or major reform of electoral legal framework to allow people to vote wherever they are YakubuSources Channelstv Guardian NG Featured image source: Punch Newspaper
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