Thursday, 21 August 2014

Jega rules out Nigerians in Diaspora voting, supports Military involvement during elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has categorically stated that Nigerians living abroad will not participate in the 2015 general elections.
The electoral umpire said apart from the fact that it does not have the wherewithal, the Electoral Act, 2010 will have to be amended to accommodate such.

Speaking at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives committee on electoral matters, the
INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, however, said diaspora voting was possible in future elections.

“Voting by Nigerians in Diaspora should be allowed but it is practically impossible for us to commence that next year. Such amendment should be done for future elections.

“The issue of electronic voting should also be accommodated before the 2015 elections, but we cannot conduct elections electronically next year. It will be for future elections”, he added.

The INEC chairman also recommended for an extension of the seven days for a run-off election for the offices of the president and governors as provided in the Electoral Act, 2010 to at least 21 days, “because it is technically impossible to do a run-off in seven days.”

He equally requested for an extension of the days for the transfer of voters from the approved 45 days by the lawmakers to 60 days due to the technicalities involved, even though the Electoral Act, 2010 provided 35 days.

Jega also called for an amendment to Section 25, so that all by-elections would be done twice every year instead of the regular ones.

The commission also supported the amendment to Section 29 (8) on the deployment of “the Nigerian Armed Forces only for the purpose of securing the distribution and delivery of election materials.”

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