Paving the way for entrenching the diaspora’s voting rights under the Nigerian laws: legal prospects, challenges and potential solutions

Elgujja, AA ORCID: 2021, 'Paving the way for entrenching the diaspora’s voting rights under the Nigerian laws: legal prospects, challenges and potential solutions' , Turkish Journal of Diaspora Studies . (Submitted)

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Diaspora overseas or external voting (hereinafter referred to as diaspora voting), which hinges on the citizen’s universal right to vote, has become popular among modern democracies all over the world. Over a hundred nations have so far adopted overseas or (hereinafter referred to as diaspora voting) with varying scope and/or restriction, if any. Among these countries are nearly thirty African countries that also include all of Nigeria’s immediate neighbours except Cameroun. Currently, the Nigerian laws, including the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act (2010), do not provide for the right of Nigerians overseas to participate in elections unless they personally present themselves for registration and voting at designated centres in Nigeria. Since Nigeria’s return to democratic government in 1999, there have been persistent calls among Nigerians in the diaspora for law reforms to enable them to exercise their universal right to vote during elections. Since then, various administrations of the Nigerian government have, accordingly, yielded to those calls by setting up an independent dedicated body (Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM)) that is saddled with the responsibility of engaging and mobilising Nigerians in the diaspora as equal partners in national development. Political pundits continue to debate on and attempt to strike a balance between, its desirability and the potential logistical and operational challenges that may result therefrom. However, the overwhelming argument is that, in view of their contribution to Nigerian national development, and the contemporary international trend in the globalised modern democracies, Nigerians in diaspora, as equal citizens, should be allowed to exercise their right to vote just like their peers in similar climes. This article reviewed and found that there are some legal hurdles that have to be tackled along the way, and proffers some constitutional amendments and other legal reforms that are necessary for bringing this lofty concept into fruition.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Journal or Publication Title: Turkish Journal of Diaspora Studies
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr AA Elgujja
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2021 08:09
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:54

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