INEC Staff Want Diaspora Voting, e-Voting Kick-Started

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Operations and Logistics staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have asked the commission to consider the introduction of out-of-country voting into its electoral process to avoid disenfranchisement of qualified Nigerians living abroad.

The officials also recommended that the commission should commence the use of electronic (e)-Voting after being test-run as a pilot scheme.

A statement issued on Monday in Abuja, detailing some of the recommendations made during a one-week workshop it held in Lagos, the commission said that there certain conditions that has to be met before Nigerians in diaspora could participate in elections organized in the country.

“But the Out of Country Voting should be predicated on: the creation of a data base for Nigerians in diapora; provision of a legal framework, eligible criteria; a logistics framework; conduct of pilot schemes; and the acquisition of necessary platforms and gadgets for its implementation, it said..

The workshop which has as it theme “Developing Effective Electoral Operations” also recommended that the commission Commission should begin procurement of materials for the 2019 General Elections in 2017.

The operations staff held that “since procurement and timeous deployment of election materials are crucial to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, some sections of the Electoral Act such as Section 78 should be amended to further extend from six (6) months to two hundred and forty (240) days to facilitate production of ballot papers and procure other materials necessary for the conduct of elections”.

They said that the commission should also embark on general renovation, upgrade and expansion of existing stores. It should further, in addition to existing zonal stores, construct stores in all the states to facilitate seamless, and timely deployment of election materials across the country.

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