By Chris Udochukwu
Abuja (Precise Post) – Kaduna, the first state in Nigeria to use electronic voting in May 2018, is set to deploy electronic voting machines for the forth-coming local government elections in September.
This is coming following the expiration of tenure of the councillors and local government chairmen elected in 2018 and fresh elections scheduled for 4th September 2021.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai who disclosed in a statement released on his Facebook page on Thursday, also posted the full speech delivered by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe.
The statement titled “Kaduna update” reads in full:
“For the second time, Kaduna State is preparing to use electronic voting machines for the local government elections. In May 2018, Kaduna State became the first in Nigeria to introduce electronic voting for elections. The tenure of office of the councillors and local government chairmen elected in 2018 has expired and fresh elections are scheduled for 4th September 2021.
Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, represented by Commissioner of Education Dr. Shehu Usman Muhammad, delivered the following remarks at the Kaduna SIECOM’s Stakeholders Sensitisation Programme on the Local Government Election Process.
I am delighted to be here this morning for this sensitisation programme for stakeholders on the local government elections. The reason is obvious. Under the leadership of Malam Nasir El Rufai, the Kaduna State Government has demonstrated its commitment to a viable, democratically elected and responsive local government system. This government has initiated several reforms to help strengthen the capacity of the 23 local government councils in the state to deliver services at the grassroots level.
The reforms have also addressed how leaders at the local government level emerge. In 2018, the Kaduna State Government introduced electronic voting for the local government elections of May and June 2018. This required considerable investments, and we consider it a worthwhile deployment of technology towards ensuring that votes count and that the results that are declared reflect the actual preferences that the voters expressed.
Across the state, voters found it easy to use the electronic voting machines, thereby proving that user interface is not a problem and that elections in Nigeria can be safely conducted electronically. However, the deployment of electronic voting was not without its challenges, which had everything to do with the baser aspects of the attitudes of some politicians. INEC was unable to loan us its card readers for the 2018 local government elections, leaving the elections officials with no option than to rely on manual accreditation.
We commend the Kaduna SIECOM for pioneering electronic voting for election into government offices. We welcome the efforts that the Commission has made to reconfigure the electronic voting machines to integrate the card reader into it and to ensure that a card can only be used once for voting.
All citizens that wish to see democratic governance at the local level have a duty to ensure that our people are galvanised to vote and that they understand the electoral process and the steps required to enable them to vote easily and freely.
On behalf of the Kaduna State Government, I wish to call on all the political parties and civic organisations in the state to help make the campaigns and the local government elections a fair and peaceful celebration of democracy.
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