Engaging the Proposed Policy on the Adoption of Diaspora Voting Rights in Nigeria

Ngara, Christopher O. ; Ejalonibu, Ganiyu L. (2021)

Working Paper

The main objective of this policy analysis is to examine the policy declaration of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant voting rights to Nigerians in diaspora in 2023 general elections. The analysis shows that diaspora voting is geared towards increasing political participation, which enhances legitimacy and accountability in democratic governments. The analysis reveals that although the right of Nigerians in diaspora to vote is in line with sections 14(1), (2)(a)(c), 17(2)(a), 24(b)(c), 25, 73(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as articles 13(1) and 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, access to and enjoyment of this right is limited and impaired by the provisions of sections 12(1)(c) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2010 and section 77(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). However, this policy analysis submits that granting voting rights to Nigerians in diaspora will create a sense of belonging for them and boost their interests in contributing to Nigeria’s national economic and political development. The following recommendations are therefore advanced: a) Sections 77(2) and 117(2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, may be amended to make it possible for Nigerians living in diaspora to be eligible to be registered as voters;