In obvious response to the claim by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission has denied plan to create “rigging centres” ahead of the 2019 election outside the country.
The PDP had alleged that INEC and President Muhammadu Buhari were hiding under the guise of voting centres for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, outside the country to create centres where election would be rigged for the president.
But in its reaction, INEC, in a statement issued by Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, on Thursday, in Abuja, said there was no plan to create voting centres outside the country.
The statement reads in part: “The Commission wishes to state unequivocally that there will be no Diaspora or Out-of-Country voting for any Nigerian, in accordance with extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended).
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“Only duly registered IDPs within Nigeria will be allowed to vote.
“The Framework and Regulations for IDP Voting was presented and validated by stakeholders at a conference held in Abuja on December 12.
“However, there was no reference whatsoever in the remarks made by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, or during deliberations at the validation meeting that special provisions will be made for IDPs outside Nigeria to vote in the forthcoming general elections, contrary to the said media reports.”
INEC stated further that “It should however, be noted that while IDPs currently residing in states where they registered can vote in all elections, those displaced from their states and are currently Iiving in states other than where they were registered can only vote in the Presidential Election.”
The framework which was approved by the stakeholders at the conference, INEC explained, was in accordance with the provisions of Section 26 (1) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2015.