The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) is preparing a bill for a law that will allow persons on election duty to vote early.

The step is to curb the incessant disenfranchisement of persons who work on election days, the Director General of NILDS, Prof. Ladi Hamalai, said.

Such persons include journalists, security operatives, INEC officials, Ad-hoc staff as well as election observers and monitors.

Hamalai made the plan known in Abuja on Thursday at a one-day sensitisation workshop on election observation in preparation for the general elections.

She noted that other smaller countries in Africa were already taking such step, adding that the institute also planned in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to forward a bill for Diaspora voting.

She said that the bill was aimed at allowing those who had roles to play on election days to vote before the days for elections.

“There are two issues, early election is one of the issues that we have been discussing so far and we have a workshop on that sometime in March.

“Early voting is a low hanging fruit, and as we have been told, even INEC has been discussing that and we had an interactive session on the matter with social media actors not quite long ago.

“I believe that it is something that we can easily handle after the general elections: we will come up with resolutions during the proposed workshop.

“One of the outcomes of the workshop would be to draft the required amendment bill to the Electoral Act that would now go through the legislative process.

“It is practical and feasible and there is no reason we shouldn’t; even smaller countries than Nigeria are able to organise it; there is no reason why we cannot.

“We should not continue to disenfranchise millions of Nigerians, it is an issue of fundamental human rights, I am sure that in principle it is acceptable, the difficult part is to amend the Electoral Act to allow it,” she said.


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