Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reps step down bill to give Nigerians abroad voting rights

22 October 2011

DELIBERATIONS on a bill seeking an amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act to make it possible for Nigerians living in the diaspora to vote during the country's general elections, yesterday suffered a setback in the House of Representatives as it was stood down abruptly.

Sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the bill had sought amendment to three sections of the Act pursuant to granting the Independent National Electoral Commission  (INEC) powers to conduct elections beyond the shores of Nigeria, as well as allow Nigerians living outside the country to vote in all general elections.

Indications that the bill would suffer a setback emerged when immediately after Dabiri-Erewa concluded her lead debate on the general principles of the proposed amendment bill, Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogor raised concerns that Nigeria was not ripe for such an exercise, citing the cost implication as one of the reasons.

"We will all be here sourcing for funds to run the elections," he stated but quickly pointed out that he was not against the spirit of the bill.

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