Diaspora Nigerians may vote in future elections
Nigerians living outside the country may soon be allowed exercise their franchise if the current amendment bill brought before the House of Representatives by Honourable Eucharia Azodo, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Aguata, Anambra sales through. The proposed bill which is seeking to further amend the Electoral Act of 210 as amended in 2015 requests that sub sections 1b, and 1c be inserted in section 26 of the principal act while a new part would be added as procedure for Diaspora voting in Presidential Elections. The amendments sought according the sponsor, were geared towards incorporating Diaspora voting in Presidential Elections in Nigerian Electoral process. Diaspora voting, Honourable Azodo stressed; “is a situation whereby citizens of a given country who are residing outside their country are made to vote in their host countries during the Presidential Elections of their native countries.” “Diaspora voting usually takes place in the embassies for easy administration”.
She said adding that; “In most advanced democracies like America, Britain, Germany, and India among others, it is on record that the ability of their citizens to vote outside their countries during elections has been one of their electoral successes.” She pointed out that even smaller and emerging democracies in African continent such as South Africa, Guinea, Chad, Ghana and Mozambique had already adopted Diaspora voting in their electoral processes noting that; “Nigeria which prides itself as the emerging largest democracy in the continent can be different”. “For Nigeria to be really recognized and counted as one of the leading democracies of the world, it has to conform to the norms of advanced democracies of the world”. She further stated adding that the ability of a citizen of a given country to vote during its Presidential and general elections outside the shores of the nation is a manifestation of the growth of its democracy”.
The bill if eventually passed shall ensure that only those who are qualified as legitimate residents and holders of Nigerian passports shall be eligible to vote during elections and the Diaspora voting shall take place not later than twenty-four (24) hours to the date presidential elections shall be conducted in Nigeria. It also prescribed that the result of the voting in presidential elections conducted outside Nigeria shall only be announced by the Chief Electoral Commissioner or the Returning Officer for the presidential elections same day as for the states of the Federation and FCT results.