By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says there will be no Diaspora or Out-of-Country voting for Nigerians in the 2019 general election.
INEC gave the clarification in a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, on Thursday in Abuja.
Okoye said that INEC attention had been drawn to a report by a section of the media which gave false impression that the Commission has “made special provisions for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) outside Nigeria to vote in the 2019 General Elections.”
“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.
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.”
He said that the framework validated by stakeholders at the conference is in consonance with the provisions of Section 26 (1) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2015.
The section according to Okoye provides that “in the event of an emergency affecting an election, the Commission shall as far as possible ensure that persons displaced as a result of emergency are not disenfranchised.”