…. As PDP, CUPP raise alarm over plan to open polling units in Chad, Niger
Obiora Ifoh, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has allayed fears against alleged plans by the commission to open polling units in some neighbouring countries including Chad and Nigeria.
National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye described the allegation as unfounded arguing that INEC will not organise elections outside of Nigeria.
In a statement by Okoye, said the false Impression that the Commission has “made special provisions for Internally Displaced Persons Outside Nigeria to Vote in the 2019 General Elections” was not a fact.
He said, “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 Internally Displaced Persons (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 12th December, 2018. However, there was no reference whatsoever in the remarks made by the Hon. 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.
“It should however, be noted that while Internally Displaced Persons currently residing in states where they registered can vote in all elections, those displaced from their states and are currently living in states other than where they registered can only vote in the Presidential election.
“The framework validated by stakeholders at the conference is in consonance with the provisions of Section 26 (1) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2015 which 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 the emergency are not disenfranchised.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) have raised alarm over alleged planned diaspora voting insisting that it must be a plan put in place by the presidency to rig the election.
PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) in a statement issued by its spokesperson described the plot by INEC and President Buhari to secretly create polling centers outside the shores of our country, in total violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as inexcusably criminal and exposes part of the plot to corrupt our electoral system and massively rig for President Buhari.
“President Buhari, INEC and all Nigerians know that there are no provisions for Diaspora voting under our system. By the extant laws guiding elections in Nigeria, it is very clear who is eligible to vote, as well as the centers statutorily designated for elections. There is no provision for any special arrangement whatsoever.
“It is therefore reprehensible that President Buhari, in his desperation to rig the elections, is now trying to hide under the guise of making special provision for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) outside the country, to illegally create rigging centers outside our country and import contrived figures into the election results.”
He said the clandestine arrangement further validates the alarm earlier raised by the PDP, in April this year, of INEC’s plot to secretly create 30,000 illegal polling centers in some remote areas, through which they plan to allocate millions of votes to President Buhari and the APC.
“If President Buhari is in any way inclined towards diaspora voting, he should send an appropriate bill to the National Assembly for approval to accommodate not only Nigerians in Chad and Niger Republic, but also those in other sub-Sahara countries as well as Europe, America and other parts of the world, who have been agitating for Diaspora voting.”
Also addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, National Publicity Secretary ,Ikenga Imo Ugo Chinyere said its intelligence unit has uncovered the plan which has seen a massive mobilization of foreign national into the country to generate not less than five million votes for President Muhammadu Buhari in the election.
Ugo Chinyere said the alleged plans explains why the President refused to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill(2018) which would have made the card reader the only means of accreditation of voters.
The CUPP Spokesman called on INEC to immediately retraced its steps and recall all electoral officials and materials already deployed even as he asked citizens to resist any plan to conduct elections outside the territory of Nigeria; pointing out that diaspora voting is prohibited under the law.
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