Operations and Logistics Officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission have advised the commission to introduce diaspora voting into its electoral process to avoid disenfranchisement of qualified Nigerians abroad.
The officers gave the advice in their recommendations at the end of a one-week workshop held in Lagos.
In the copy made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja, they said the “out of country voting” should be predicated on the creation of a data base for Nigerians in the diaspora and the provision of a legal framework.
They added that the diaspora voting should also be predicated by eligible criteria – logistics framework, conduct of pilot schemes and acquisition of necessary platforms and gadgets for its implementation.
The recommendation said: “Since procurement and timely deployment of election materials are crucial to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, some sections of the Electoral Act should be amended.
“Section 78 should be amended to further extend from six months to 240 days to facilitate production of ballot papers and procure other materials necessary for the conduct of elections.
“Towards this end, the commission should begin procurement of materials for the 2019 general elections in 2017.”
The officers also urged INEC to embark on general renovation, upgrade and expansion of its existing stores.
In addition, they said the commission should construct stores in all the states to facilitate seamless and timely deployment of election materials to complement existing zonal stores across the country.
They advised the commission to procure utility vehicles for its offices in the 774 local government areas across the country, adding that the vehicles should be fitted with tracking devices.
They said: “There is need for further perfection of the technology such as Electronic Voters’ Register and improvement in the functionality of the Smart Card Reader.
“Also, Electronic -voting should be introduced after due pilot projects.”