Nigerians in the diaspora may be able to vote in the 2019 election if works are concluded on bills proposing different amendments to the Electoral Act of 2010.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, expressed this optimism on Monday at the public hearing on the proposed further amendments to the Electoral Act.

According to him, 12 bills are proposing amendments to the Electoral Act.

Among the Bills is one seeking to introduce electronic voting in Nigeria.

He believes that effective legal framework is key to credible elections in Nigeria.

“The issue of legal framework for electronic accreditation, electronic voting and announcement of election results are some of the matters that should be settled in time before the 2019 general elections.

“Others are the place of Independent National Electoral Commission guidelines and regulations vis a vis the procedure for elections contained in the Electoral Act and the role of political parties in the nomination process,” Dogara said.

The Speaker added that the proposed amendments were a direct result of occurrences during the 2015 elections and other circumstances which the existing legislation could not address.

“One of such is the last governorship election in Kogi State, where the leading candidate died after voting had commenced but before results were announced.

“Experience has shown that good electoral system governed by an efficient and effective legal framework is an inescapable prerequisite for the conduct of free, fair and credible election.

“It also guarantees the enthronement of good governance which will ensure peace and stability in the polity.

“Conversely, it is a globally established fact that a flawed electoral system is a huge threat to any democracy and can constitute an invitation to anarchy,” Dogara said.

To make it possible for Nigerians abroad to vote in the 2019 general elections, the Speaker also asked the committee on constitution review to conclude alterations concerning the Electoral Act before the next election cycle.

“Permit me to use this opportunity to implore the Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review to conclude all alterations relating to electoral matters early in order to give INEC enough time to plan 2019 general elections.”

The Chairman of the Committee, Aishatu Dukku, said that a lot needed to be done to take the country to the point where elections were devoid of violence, fraud and abuse of process.

“A review of the 2015 general election indicates need for the National Assembly to take legislative steps to address identified challenges and plug the loopholes encountered with the conduct of elections,’’ Dukku said.