The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has stated that there are no special provisions for internally-displaced Nigerians living outside the country to vote in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
What was INEC’s reaction to these reports?
The commission disclosed this in a statement issued on Thursday by its National Commissioner and Chairman Information and voter education committee, Festus Okoye, in reaction to reports making the rounds that the commission was planning to introduce diaspora voting in the 2019 elections.
He said: “The Commission wishes to state unequivocally that there will be no Diaspora or Out-of-Country voting for any Nigerian, in accordance with extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended).
“Only duly registered IDPs within Nigeria will be allowed to vote.
“The Framework and Regulations for lDP Voting was presented and validated by stakeholders at a conference held in Abuja on Dec. 12.
“However, there was no reference whatsoever in the remarks made by INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu or during deliberations at the validation meeting that special provisions will be made for IDPs outside Nigeria to vote in the forthcoming general elections, contrary to the said media reports,” he said.
How can an IDP be eligible for 2019 elections?
Okoye added: “It should however, be noted that while IDPs currently residing in states where they registered can vote in all elections, those displaced from their states and are currently Iiving in states other than where they were registered can only vote in the Presidential Election.”
Recall that reports were making the rounds in the media that INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu has revealed that plans would be put in place to ensure IDP’s living outside the country would partake in the electioneering process.
False impression on INEC’s plans for IDPs
However, Okoye, debunked the report saying that the media gave a false impression as the INEC had no special provisions for this particular category of individuals.
The opposition party, People’s Democratic Party had condemned the plans alleging it’s an act to rig elections for the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari.