The Chairmanship Nominee of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has said that over one million Nigerians of voting age are being denied the right to vote during elections,
due to the provisions of the current Electoral Act,
Speaking on Thursday, at his confirmation hearing organised by the Senate Committee on INEC, Professor Yakubu noted that the current law allows voters to vote only where they have registered.
He said that this has denied INEC staff and the Ad hoc ones deployed for election duties, Journalists, and Election Observers, the opportunity to exercise their civic duty during elections.
“We engaged about one million Ad hoc staff during the last general elections. This means that the staff and others deployed for election duties did not vote”, he said.
He stated that until the law is amended to allow voters to cast their ballots wherever they are, millions of registered voters would continue to be denied the right to vote during elections.
Professor Yakubu also said that the Commission needs to construct strong rooms in all the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to store smart card readers and other election materials, stating that, this will prevent them from burning, in case of fire incidents.
He added that the Commission is working hard to ensure that scheduled elections are not postponed again.
He disclosed further that one of the challenges the Commission had faced, was the postponement of the 2019 elections by a week, stating that, it was tough for him, because he had to address the nation at 2am, and a World Press Conference later in the afternoon, on the same day, to explain why the elections were postponed.
He said that INEC has listed 1,508 activities to be conducted before the 2023 general elections.
Professor Yakubu appealed to the the National Assembly to expedite work on the amendment of the Electoral Act, noting that the amended Electoral framework is germane to the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
He said that elections cannot be conducted in an atmosphere of uncertainty, adding that, work on the Electoral framework has to be finalised before the 2023 elections would be conducted.
His words: “I want to appeal to the Senate to please expedite work on the Electoral Act, so that we can conduct elections in an atmosphere of certainty.
“I hope you will give us Electoral Act by the end of first quarter of 2021.”