2023 Polls: Nigerians In Diaspora Drag INEC, Buhari To Court, Demand Right To Vote

Nigerians living abroad, have on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Federal High Court in Abuja, requesting they be registered and allowed to vote come 2023.

The plaintiffs, Chikwe Nkemnacho and Kenneth Nkemnacho, both British citizens, instituted the case on behalf of other Nigerians in diaspora with case filing number FHC/ABJ/CS/2119/2022.

INEC, chairman of INEC, president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria are listed as first to fourth defendants, respectfully.

They urged the court to halt Buhari and INEC from continuing with the 2023 election campaign until the voter registration and bio-data base of INEC had been amended to include them as registered voters.

According to sections 13, 14, 42, and 17 of the 1999 constitution, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit brought on their behalf by Augustine Temfeh-Nkemnacho requested that the court rule that they were qualified to take part in the electoral process by registering to vote in 2023 and in all elections, regardless of their place of residence.

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They also asked the court to issue a second ruling saying that INEC still has time to adhere to the terms of sections 13, 14, and 15 of the 1999 Constitution.

They argued that unless they are allowed to vote in the 2023 elections and subsequent ones, their fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution would be violated.

The date for the lawsuit’s mention and for the defendants to submit their separate responses has been set for January 19, 2023 by Justice Inyang Ekwo, who is assigned to hear the case.

The development comes months after Zubairu Dada, minister of state for foreign affairs, said Nigerians in the diaspora will soon be able to vote from their countries of residence.

“The national assembly is working closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to fashion a way to actualise diaspora voting. I remain very optimistic that in the not-too-distant future, it should be possible for Nigerians in the diaspora to participate in our national elections,” Dada had said.