Decentralisation of voting unconstitutional – INEC


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said the call by Nigerians for decentralisation of voting was unconstitutional.

Mrs. Ndidi Okafor, Deputy Director, Public Relations, INEC, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), told journalists that it was not possible to register in one place and vote in another.

Okafor said that the law establishing the commission did not give it power to allow decentralization of voting, adding that it would be illegal to embark on such idea.

“It is a legal matter; it has nothing to do with the internal administration of the commission. The Electoral Act says vote where you register.

 “So, you must endeavour to ensure that where you register is where you have to vote because on Election Day, movement is restricted and that is why the law says ‘go and vote where you registered’.

“As long as that law remains and has not been amended, there is nothing the commission can do to allow decentralization of voting.

“All INEC needs to do is to appeal that Nigerians be law-abiding and register close to where they live for easy access to polling centres during elections.

“Election is a national project guided by the laws of the land, the Constitution and the electoral Act; so I appeal that we should respect and obey the law,’’ she said.

Okafor said that all Nigerians could do for now was to start lobbying for a change of the law to meet their request.

She, however, encouraged those that had moved from where the registered to go to the continuous voter registration centre in their area councils to transfer their votes to their present location.

She said INEC had provided an electoral product called “transfer of documentation’’ for Nigerians to transfer their votes, inter-state or intra-state as they wished.

Okafor said that in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CRV), INEC made provision for three main electoral products.

She said that the products were fresh registration, which was opened only to those who just turned 18, those not registered before, or persons with temporary voter card, but names not in the voter register.

According to her, persons in these three categories can now access fresh registration and INEC officers are on ground to help them.

Okafor said that the voter registration was progressing smoothly, adding that INEC would soon seek ways to decentralise the process so as to capture every area.


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