INEC on Kano underage voting: Our register wasn’t used in most polling units
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the voter register it produced for the conduct of the Kano local government election was not used in most of the polling units in the state.
After the poll in February, images of children allegedly thumb-printing during the exercise surfaced on the internet.
Some of the political parties that participated in the poll demanded a cancellation of the exercise alleging that it was fraught with irregularities.
Thereafter, INEC set up a committee to probe the underage voting in the state. Subsequently, Abubakar Nauche, chairman of the committee, said there was no evidence of underage voting in the state.
“From the interaction with civil society organisations and media, no evidence of underage voting has been presented,” Nauche had said.
But speaking with journalists while giving a summary of the committee’s report on Friday, Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of INEC, explained that if there were cases of underage voting in Kano, it was because the register it produced was not used by Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC).
The chairman also said accreditation of voters using the permanent voter card (PVC) “largely did not take place”.
“Kano State Independent Electoral Commission requested for and received from INEC the Kano state register of voters for the election,” Yakubu said
“The register was produced for use for the elections. However, the register was only sighted in a few polling units. In other words, the register was not used in most of the polling units.
“Given that the register was substantially not used to accredit voters before voting, it is logical to conclude that if underaged voting occurred in the election, it was not due to any presence of underaged registrants on the register of voters.
“However, after examining some of the images in circulation, the committee found that they have been available long before the Kano local government elections. The few images and video clips from Kano show no accreditation of voters or any relationship with the register of voters.
“There is need and ample room for collaboration between lNEC and all stakeholders to continue to update and improve the national register of voters to eliminate all ineligible registrants from it, including dead persons, aliens and underaged registrants.
“INEC should work with the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) to ensure continuous improvements in the quality of all elections conducted in Nigeria.”
He added that the commission would take another look at the register alongside stakeholders in the bid to remove ineligible registrants from it.