The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the commission is ready to “roll out” diaspora voting to enable more eligible Nigerian citizens working in diplomatic missions or those permanently living abroad to vote.
The chairman made the disclosure during an interview with journalists on Wednesday, shortly after his 2021 budget defence at the Senate.
He, however, said it would require amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act by the National Assembly.
“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,” he said.
In the same vein, he called for an amendment to the Electoral Act to allow disenfranchised groups to vote. These include journalists, security personnel, INEC staff, among others.
He also sought amendment to allow Nigerians with their Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, to vote anywhere they find themselves.
“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 solution perhaps, early voting, so that those involved in election duty can vote early or major reform of the electoral legal framework to allow people to vote wherever they are.”