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Hope Dims For Diaspora Voting

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The desire of Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote in the 2019 general elections will not materialise, LEADERSHIP Sunday can report.

It was gathered that the Diaspora voting dream would not be actualised in the coming election following the inability of the National Assembly to repeal some sections of the Electoral Act.

Section 57 and 58 of the Electoral Act 2014 as amended states that one can only vote where he or she is registered.

This is coming just as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also ruled out e-voting in the 2019 general elections.

The commission has also projected that over 80 million Nigerians will vote in the coming elections while 68 political parties will field candidates.

“The 2019 general elections will be different for the following reasons: One, the number of political parties has increased significantly. We have 68 registered political parties at the moment and more are likely to come on board before 2019.”

“Secondly, the number of registered voters has also increased. There were about 70 million registered voters for the 2015 general elections. We might have about 80 million or more voters for the 2019 elections. Already, the commission has registered over four million new voters since the commencement of the Continuous Voter Registration

(CVR) exercise in April 2017,” INEC spokesman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi said in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday.

Even though some stakeholders are expressing concern over preparations for the elections, Oyekanmi gave assurance that INEC had already begun preparations.

On whether there will be e-voting in the coming elections, the INEC spokesman said ‘no.’

“There will be no e-voting. The constitution does not yet allow it,” Oyekanmi said.

On the clamour by Nigerians living abroad to participate in their home country’s polls, Oyekanmi said they would not be able to vote in the 2019 general elections.

“Nigerians in the Diaspora won’t be able to vote in the 2019 general elections. The law says you can only vote where you are registered.”

On the increasing population and the establishment of new settlements across Nigeria which could further put a strain on the activities of the commission, Oyekanmi said INEC was up to the task.

“You are right. The country’s population is increasing and more settlements are emerging. There are about 120,000 polling units nationwide and when you add the existing voting points, the total comes to about 150,000.

“Don’t forget that the voting points were created in order to give more Nigerians the opportunity to vote. The commission is not unmindful of the concerns being expressed,” he said.

He called on Nigerians to be hopeful, adding that INEC will continue to do its best to address their concerns.



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