Ahead of the upcoming election in 2023, INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) has brought up the idea of giving inmates around the country rights to vote just like it is done in other African countries like Kenya & South Africa.
Already inmates are granted access to tertiary education via the National Open University, and now INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu wants to implement an existing High Court judgement in Benin City, which ruled in favor of inmate voting.
According to stats, as at 2020 we have 73,726 inmates in Nigeria’s correctional facilities across the country.
See What He Said Below:
“Let me start with the Legal Framework. Section 12, sub-section 1 of the Electoral Act 2022 lists five qualifications for registration as a voter in Nigeria, because you have to register as a voter before the right to exercise that right is conferred. That section of the Electoral Act has at least 5 qualifications.
“Number one, the prospective registrant must be a Nigerian citizen. Number two, he or she must be 18 years of age, at least. Number three, he or she must originate, reside or work in the local government or be covered by the registration centre or the point of registration. Number four, that citizen of Nigeria must present himself or herself to the registration officer for registration and support. And number five, which is really critical to our discussion today, is that he or she must not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote under any law, rule, or regulation imposed in Nigeria.
“This is one area that we need to discuss so that we know the categories of inmates that will exercise the right to vote and I’m happy that you came with your Director, Legal. We, therefore, need to work things out carefully. We want transparency of the process. Because everything that we do in the Commission, particularly when it comes to the rights of citizens to vote, must be done transparently.”
“The sooner we’re able to address these issues, the better for the process. But remember, we have only a little over seven months to the next general election. But the next general election is not going to be the last election conducted by Nigeria. So, even if we don’t meet all these critical thresholds in 2023, we’ll continue with a discussion to see what happens beyond 2023.”
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