To ensure all classes of citizens are involved in the forthcoming general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced plans to set up voting centers for the millions of Internally Displaced People (IDP) across the country. 

The Chairman, Board of Survey and Technical Committee on Equipment Acquisition, INEC, Mohammed Haruna, confirmed to The PUNCH newspaper earlier in the week that for security reasons, the electoral body would conduct elections in IDP camps “where they still exist, but would adopt a different approach for the internally displaced persons living in communities.”

Why it matters 
With 79 days to the 2023 general elections, Nigeria and its electorates are bracing for one of the toughest presidential elections in its recent history as, since the country returned to democratic rule in 1999, it has contested the presidency between two major political parties. In the 2023 presidential elections, there have so far been three leading candidates showing the intensity of the presidential race. 

  • INEC’s efforts to include all classes of citizens speak of the commission’s determination to ensure every registered voter exercises their franchise. 

The big picture 
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated in July 2021 that the number of IDPs in Nigeria increased from 2.730 million in 2020 to over 3.2 million persons (including children) as of 2021. This number is too significant to neglect, as they could determine the winner of an election. 

What you should know 
Data from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development shows that many of the IDPs are in Borno, Zamfara, Benue, Nasarawa and 23 other states.

The IDPs were displaced from their homes by members of Boko Haram, unidentified bandits, natural occurrences such as the recent flood, etc. 

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