NAN – Some Nigerian professionals in Europe on Thursday, April 9, 2015 expressed confidence in the ability of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct credible Diaspora voting once there is a law backing it.
They said this in Bern during an interview with the Europe correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
They said they were confident the successful use of card readers in the last general elections by INEC indicated the electoral body’s ability to accommodate Nigerians abroad in the voting process.
A medical doctor, Dr Peter Ndem, said the use of the device would ensure credibility in Diaspora voting once it received a legal backing.
“With what played out in the presidential election which saw the emergence of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the president-elect, I can say that INEC can conduct a free and fair Diaspora voting.
“In so doing, INEC would ensure that millions of Nigerians abroad would not be disenfranchised.
“A lot of countries in Africa now include their Diaspora communities in their electoral process, we too can do so as our democracy has come of age,” he said.
Ndem, who has lived in Europe for 25 years abroad said: “the same card reader that was used in the presidential election should be used in subsequent elections.”
Similarly Mr Umar Dutsinma a member of Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation Europe (NIDOE) expressed hope that the card reader would facilitate the passage of Diaspora voting Bill ahead of 2019 general elections.
Dutsinma, a researcher who has lived abroad for 15 years, however said that: “though hitches were experienced with the device, there is room for improvement.
“I strongly believe that INEC, once empowered, would be set to conduct Diaspora voting.
“I appeal to the National Assembly to expedite action on the Diaspora Bill so that Nigerians abroad can be captured in the 2019 general election.
“This may appear to be a difficult task but it can be done,” Dutsinma said.