INEC assures on diaspora voting

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has assured that it would work hard to make Nigeria’s electoral system more inclusive in order to accommodate voting by citizens in diaspora.

Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, who gave the assurance when Sudirman Haseng, Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, led a delegation to his office, said that Nigeria had a lot to learn from Indonesia’s electoral experience.

“n Nigeria, we are doing our best to open up our system for citizens in the diaspora to be able to vote. Unfortunately, there are presently legal inhibitions because our laws prohibit diaspora voting.

“But there is a provision in our law that requires every eligible person to cast ballot at the polling unit where he/she registered. The implication of the provision is that people in diaspora would have to come home to register and vote where they registered.”

The INEC chairman told the ambassador that the commission had made recommendations to amend the provision to the National Assembly, adding that Nigeria was looking for the best model to adopt in terms of diaspora voting.

On his part, Haseng invited INEC to observe voting by Indonesians in Nigeria during their parliamentary elections slated for April 5 and 6. “Voting will be conducted as part of the parliamentary elections on April 9 in mainland Indonesia.’’

Haseng said Indonesia had a population of 240 million people, out of which 180 million were eligible voters, adding that Diaspora voting was applicable only to the Jakarta constituency in the parliamentary election.

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