By Adebayo Waheed,
The Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has warned that conducting Diaspora voting during the period of recession will cost Nigeria million of dollars and logistic requirements.
Speaking at an international conference on “Enfranchising the African Diaspora: Comparing Notes across Sub-Saharan Africa” held at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan on Wednesday, he noted that while the 2015 elections cost approximately N100 billion, contemplating a Diaspora voting in the next 18 months must start with registration of Nigerians in Diaspora which will gulp millions of dollars.
Represented by the National Commissioner of INEC, Professor Anthonia Simbinne, he noted that the commission was ready for Diaspora voting, saying, “until issues of constitutional amendment is done to pave way for the incorporation of the Diaspora as well as Diaspora voter registration, and cost are scaled, the Diaspora will have to wait a little longer to actualise their dreams.”
He called on the National Assembly to quicken the amendments of constitution and electoral act to recognize use technology (Card Reader and Electronic Voting) towards deepening the electoral process and allowing Diaspora Voting.
“It is important to state categorically that the commission is committed to implementing any and every activity that will improve the electoral process and accessibility of franchise to all Nigerians, albeit within the ambit of law.
“The introduction of technology (Card Reader and Electronic Voting) has led to instances where polls have had to be cancelled due to non-use of smart card reader.
“As the commission is building on the gains made previously from the introduction and use of the PVCs and SCR technology which have gone a long way to address age-long way to address multiple and fraudulent proxy voting.
“We are counting on CSOs to publicise the new amendments made to the electoral regime in 2015 and the legislature to hasten other new and proposed ones in a way that compels the use of technology towards deepening the electoral process,” he said.