Measuring The Credibility of INEC With IDPs Votes
Nigeria News takes a look at the plan by INEC to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria and Niger camps vote in 2019.
Millions of Nigerians in the diaspora can only talk about their candidates in the forthcoming general election, there is no provision for them to vote.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no plan for them whatsoever as there is no law to help the electoral body in this direction.
Perhaps, the amended electoral bill by the National Assembly would have addressed this, President Muhammadu Buhari had refused to sign it into law. For the second time in about four months, Mr. President turned the request of the legislators down.
But it is shocking that INEC has a place for the Internally Displaced Nigerians who are currently living in Niger, a neighbouring country and other parts of Nigeria in the coming election.
Nigerians in Niger IDPs camp may vote for their chosen Candidates. Many of these are those that were chased out of their communities by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Of course they have the rights to choose who will lead them but the question is whether the INEC has the capacity to prevent rigging outside Nigeria where the government has no power to control the law enforcement agent.
The commission has not told us if it will deploy electronic voting system in the neighbouring country so as to minimise cost and of course regulate electoral fraud.
Many of the IDPs actually registered and had their voter’s card before they were displaced but some of them had lost their identity in transit.
The allegation that Nigeriens usually infiltrate Nigeria’s electoral process is a reality, judging by the present scenario. Thousands of foreigners, mostly from Niger and Republic of Benin have Nigeria’s voter’s card but with no passport to identify them as foreigners.
They entered Nigeria illegally but had since involved themselves in the electoral process of the country. Some of them will vote, no doubt.
Earlier in the month, after the Peoples Democratic Party had flagged off its campaign in Sokoto State, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai accused the party of renting crowd from Niger to boost its political rally.
Then it was the crowd from Niger that worried El-Rufai. The Credibility of INEC will be more tested in 2019 as it becomes the target of the world in the conduct of the Nigeria presidential polls.
The United State Government through its High Commission in Lagos said that it had no preferred candidate between the All Progressives Congress flagbearer, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar.
However the US government said that it would assist INEC to conduct a credible election, adding that only Nigerians had the rights to choose who to lead them.
But again, the US government is of the opinion that the 2019 election in Nigeria may be violent in some localities.
The APC ruling government like the past governments by the PDP may want to intimidate voters with the state security apparatus, which subsequently may result in violence in some areas.
The police and the Nigerian Army are expected to be neutral while INEC officials must ensure professionalism so as to have a free, fair and peaceful poll come February 2019 in Nigeria.