The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise will commence in the first quarter of 2021 ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu who made this known during budget defense with the Senate Committee on INEC at the National Assembly said that the sum of N1billion naira has been earmarked by the Commission for the exercise.
Professor Yakubu urged the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate Nigerians in Diaspora ,The INEC Chairman also asked the senate to approve the sum of N5.2 billion from the special INEC fund to make up for the shortfall in the 2020 budget which was removed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Commission is desirous of giving Nigerians living abroad the right to vote, after all, all our neighbouring countries do so.
“But it requires the amendment to the constitution and the Electoral Act for that to happen. And we have already worked out the document. Once the law is amended today, we can roll out.
“We are ready. We have had several meetings with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) but we can’t go beyond what the law provides,” he said.
In the same vein, he called for an amendment to the Electoral Act to allow disenfranchised groups to vote. These include journalists, security personnel, INEC staff, among others.
He also sought amendment to allow Nigerians with their Permanent Voter’s Card(PVC) to vote anywhere they find themselves.
“It’s not just those in the armed services, the police involved in election duty, journalists, INEC adhoc staff and some INEC staff don’t vote. The reason is that you are posted for election duty to places other than where you are registered, and the law says you vote where are registered.
“So, if you pass some amendments to the Electoral Act to enable people to vote, two solution perhaps, early voting, so that those involved in election duty can vote early or major reform of electoral legal framework to allow people to vote wherever they are.”
The Chairman Senate committee on INEC Senator Kabir Gaya expressed the commitment of the committee to ensure that the emolument of the staff of the commission is increased to encourage them.