Prisoners to vote in 2019 elections – INEC

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said it is making plans with the Nigeria Prisons Service to ensure prisoners can vote in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a dialogue session tagged Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue.

The dialogue session involved over 70 civil society organisations in Nigeria.

This development is coming three years after a Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, ruled that prisoners in Nigeria have the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country.

Mr. Yakubu said the commission was considering creating polling units in Nigerian prisons to give some categories of prisoners the opportunity to vote.

He explained that only ”certain categories of prisoners” would be given such an opportunity depending on the nature of the crimes committed.

“We have already engaged the Comptroller-General of Prisons and we have statistics on the number of prisoners nationwide and the number of inmates registered.”

“We are looking at the possibility of creating polling units in the prisons and to enable some categories of prisoners to vote.

“Ghana does it but there are some categories of prisoners who by the nature of crimes committed lose the right to vote. Whatever we can do to open up the process to ensure that as much as possible Nigerians are given the opportunity to vote, will be done.”

Speaking on the forthcoming Anambra governorship election, he also said the commission would do everything to ensure that the election is not inconclusive or rigged.

Mr. Yakubu raised concerns on the wrong substitutions of names of governorship candidates by two political parties ahead of the governorship election but refused to disclose the names of these parties.

He however warned that if the act was challenged in court, the whole election could be voided because of that and the country will be made to bear the financial load of conducting a new election.

He said the high level of non-compliance to the Electoral Act by the political parties was threatening the electoral system.

Clement Nwankwo, the Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, and convener of Situation Room, said the event was organised to know the commission’s preparations for the forthcoming Anambra State governorship poll as well as other elections.


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  • thusspokez

    He explained that only ”certain categories of prisoners” would be given such an opportunity depending on the nature of the crimes committed.

    Did the Federal High Court in Benin says some or all prisoners? I doubt that it is the former.

  • Gary

    Here we go…now prisoners to vote when we cannot yet arrange hitch-free polling for free citizens.
    This is how they come up with murky ideas to mar free and free elections.

    What does Buhari’s INEC mean by “certain categories of prisoners” will be granted this right?
    Pickpockets but not murder convicts?
    Those in prison for five years, ten years or life?
    Who makes these determination and on what objective criteria?
    Will election monitors be allowed into prisons to watch the conduct of the voting?

    Professor Yakubu, in my considered opinion, this is a harebrained idea that a cynic like me will think is designed to rig the 2019 elections.
    Please scrap it. The future of Nigeria as a united and peaceful country depends on the conduct of the 2019 elections. The world is watching your moves at INEC.

    • A.A.Ngalos

      “This development is coming three years after a Federal High Court in
      Benin, Edo State, ruled that prisoners in Nigeria have the right to vote
      in all elections conducted in the country.” if INEC don’t comply with the court ruling then you will be first to attack them for not following the rule of law. What confused brain of yours?

      • Gary

        Wise ass, I’m sure you know that a lower court ruling can be appealed, right?
        Pray, why has INEC not appealed the ruling or filed a separate suit, if the appeal window has closed, to challenge the court ruling as possible to carry out without undermining the entire structure of Nigeria’s electoral system?
        Nigerians in Diaspora are also entitled to vote just like the citizens of other countries in the world. That right should in fact take precedence above the right of prisoners to vote but Nigeria lacks the technology and logistical capabilities to avail all its citizens abroad that opportunity.
        If free not all free citizens at home and abroad can be availed their franchise, no court in the land will insist that having prisoners vote is prioritized above them.

        Yakubu and his INEC must be cautioned against facilitating election shenanigans in 2019 that may trigger grave consequences for the survival of the Nigerian union. People of conscience and the political class have a duty to speak out as INEC attempts to reprise its shenanigans in the Ondo State Governorship election by hiding under spurious court orders.

        A word is enough for the wise. Again, the whole world is watching what INEC is up to. We will blow the whistle before rather than after the fact of any attempt at rigging the outcome.

    • Otile

      By certain categories of prisoners Buhari means that Muslims and all Fulani prisoners will vote. As their thinking goes such prisoners will be given leave to go back to their local counties to cast their votes.

  • ukoette ibekwe

    Trying to rig elections by using prisoners. When someone is in prison he or she loses the freedom to enjoy the free society and part of the free society is the right to vote and be vote for. Do these prisoners have the right to be voted for while in prison? Of course, not. So why would they have the freedom to vote?

  • ukoette ibekwe

    Nigeria can never progress as far as these Islamists continue to head government agencies.

    • forestgee

      Rigging channels are being expanded so that they can work from answer to question.