The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has assured that it would redouble efforts to ensure Nigeria’s electoral system is more inclusive in order to accommodate voting by citizens in diaspora.
INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, who gave the assurance when Sudirman Haseng, Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, led a delegation to his office in Abuja, added that Nigeria had a lot to tap from Indonesia’s electoral experience.
Jega said: “In Nigeria, we are doing our best to open up our system for citizens in the diaspora to be able to vote.
“Unfortunately, there are presently legal inhibitions because our laws prohibit diaspora voting.
“But there is a provision in our law that requires every eligible person to cast ballot at the polling unit where he/she registered.
“The implication of the provision is that people in diaspora would have to come home to register and vote where they registered”.
The INEC chairman told the ambassador that the commission had made recommendations to amend the provision to the National Assembly.
He further stated that Nigeria was looking for the best model to adopt in terms of diaspora voting.
In his remarks, Haseng invited INEC to observe voting by Indonesians resident in Nigeria during their parliamentary elections slated for April 5 and 6.
“Voting will be conducted as part of the parliamentary elections on April 9 in mainland Indonesia”, he said.
According to the Ambassador, Indonesia had a population of 240 million people, out of which 180 million were eligible voters.
He, however, noted that diaspora voting was applicable only to the Jakarta constituency in the parliamentary election.