The Minister of Youth Development and former Governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Boni Haruna, has advocated the participation of Internally Displaced Persons in the electoral system of the country.
According to him, the call became necessary considering the large numbers of Nigerians displaced in various parts of the country, due to ethno-religious crises and natural disasters.
Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, and home town of Haruna, including his family residence in Kuborshosho, has been under occupation by the Islamist sect, Boko Haram Islamic sect, having been razed down by the insurgents.
Speaking with journalists on Saturday in Abuja, Haruna said IDPs, whether on account of insurgency or natural disasters like flood and any other circumstances, should not be a basis for them to be disenfranchised and denied their opportunity to exercise their civic responsibilities or duties.
He added that provision should be made in the nation’s Electoral Act “for them to cast their votes and for their votes to count for any party or any candidate they decide to choose.”
“That is actually the important thing. The National Assembly should take the fastest track to ensure that in the 2015 election, such provision is made for the Internally Displaced Persons in all parts of the country,” Haruna stated.
The Minister stated that the issue of creating an enabling electoral environment for the IDPs was not just a matter of the North Eastern part of the country alone, but for the whole country.
He said, “And it will be unfair to deny them the opportunity to exercise their civic duty and their numbers run into millions. So, this is a personal appeal and I am sure I am speaking the minds of Internally Displaced Persons.”
Haruna further said the circumstance in which the IDPs found themselves, should not be used to disenfranchise them, adding that if for anything, they needed to be protected, catered for and be allowed to exercise their civic responsibilities wherever they are.
“So, there must be a special provision for them. It is doable and we will want to see a situation that in the 2015 election, the National Assembly takes the fastest track to make provision in the Electoral Act”, the Minister emphasized.
He also said the call for the provision to be made for the Internally Displaced Persons to vote was so important because in some of the local elections, some results cannot be conclusive because elections cannot be held in certain places.
By Edos News