The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that it is examining the possibility of allowing detainees to take part in electoral activities.
This was revealed while Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, the national commissioner of the INEC Awareness and Participation Committee (OPC), hosted the executive director of CAPIO, the rev. Fr Jude Isiguzo, who on Wednesday 10 November led his team on an advocacy visit to the INEC headquarters.
Father Isiguzo, through the Pollrite 23 project, called for respect for the right to vote of Nigerian prisoners, especially with the approach of the general elections of 2023.
Reacting to this, Dr. Ogunmola, who represented INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu at the meeting, revealed that the same issue was raised during INEC’s engagements with security agencies.
“It’s like I’m preaching to converts because the commission has tried to do something in that direction in the past.
“I remembered that the president’s response is always that there would be a need for further interaction with the prison services so that we could determine the modus operando to achieve it.”
“I mean that your goal of ensuring the protection of the rights of detainees, at least as regards participation in the electoral process is something that is part of the vision of the commission because in the strategic plan of the commission in 2022 for 2026, there is a change to vision and this is inclusivity.
“Well, we have always argued that we want to give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections, but now we are changing them to include inclusive elections.
“I want to assure you that this visit will stimulate the commission to ensure that action is taken in this direction.”
Ogunmola also promised that the electoral commission would find a way around it.