Alhasan Bala, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday said it was reviewing its adopted technologies for elections, with the view of introducing new ones to improve conduct of the elections ahead of 2023.
The INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity Department (VEP), Mr Nick Dazang, disclosed this at a workshop for the department on the “Review of National Voter Education Manual” held in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
The five-day workshop is organised by INEC in partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).
Dazang, speaking with newsmen on the sideline of the workshop, said INEC began the process for electronic voting since 2004 when it introduced optic map registration forms.
“After that in 2010, the commission introduced the use of direct data capture machines, and then expanded the use of the machines in the conduct of the 2011 election.
“So, we have started the process as far back as 2004, culminating in the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) and the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) that we also used in 2015.
“But the commission is reviewing this process with a view to upgrading and improving the conduct of elections in 2023.
“The commission wants to introduce new technologies that will help deepen the conduct of the elections, and also improve on them. So the commission is working assiduously on that.
“Very soon, when the Commission has taken a position, it will come out and explain to Nigerians how this is going to be done,” Dazang said.
He said that in introducing the new technologies, INEC would revisit the use of card readers and likely to introduce other technologies that will work seamlessly with electronic voting in 2023.
“The commission has been working on that in the past few months and God’s willing in the next few months the commission will make its position known to the public.”
He said that INEC would continue to introduce new technologies to the electoral system, not for the fancy of it, but the technologies that worked.
He noted that the commission had no regrets on the technologies it had so far introduced for the conduct of elections in Nigeria as they had helped in deepening the process and the transparency.
Dazang said that the commission was also reviewing its voter education to enable it to explain better the planned technologies to Nigerians.
“In reviewing our voter education, we are looking at certain dynamics including the technologies that the commission intend to introduce.
“We have to be on top of the matters so that we can explain the application of these technologies to Nigerians as we did when we introduced SCR, direct data capturing machines and PVCs.
He described voter education as key part of the electoral process that needed concerted efforts not just from INEC, but all stakeholders.
“If you look at what is happening around the globe including Nigeria, so many changes are happening that necessitate the urgency to review voter education.”
This, according to him, include the issue of changes in technology and COVID-19, saying we need to change our communications process to respond to the changes.
“We need to change our communications in response to growing youth population. We need to use strategies that resonate with the youth and women population.”
On the amendment of the Electoral Act, Dazang said that the commission was working seriously with two committees of the National Assembly, adding that substantial gains were being made on the amendment.
He expressed optimism that the NASS would rise to the challenge in meeting up with its promise to Nigeria to amend the Electoral Act before the end of the first quarter of 2021.
On the Anambra governorship election, Dazang said that the commission would at the appropriate time issue the date and timetable for the conduct of the election, latest by six months to the conduct.
He urged the staff members of the commission to always upgrade themselves on new technologies as well as continue to obey the COVID-19 safety protocols.
The WFD Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, expressed the foundation’s continued determination and support for INEC to deepen voter education in Nigeria, especially at the grassroots.
He said that the foundation started its partnership journey with INEC in 2015 in ensuring more inclusion of women and people living with disability in electoral process.
Olorunmola commended INEC for deepening voter education and more inclusive electoral process for women and people living with disabilities.
He said that the workshop was key in enhancing voter education from the current way to wider and deeper ways to improve on future elections.
“There is nothing like advanced democracy anymore, but work in progress.
“If you look at what has been happening in U.S. even with their decades of practising democracy they are still moving to deepen voter education.”
Kano Speaker Commends Conduct Of LG Elections
Local government election had been identified that as most peaceful and highly transparent.
This was disclosed by the Speaker, Kano State House of Assembly Right Honorable Engr Hamisu Ibrahim Chidari while casting his vote at Chidari Polling Unit in Koguna Ward of Makoda Local Government Area, stressing that the rate at which the electorate come out enmass is a wel come development.
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He commended the State government for conducting the election.
Engr Hamisu Chidari said Kano Government of Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is fully committed towards societal transformation at all levels.
In a statement by the Assembly’s Chief Press Secretary Uba Abdullahi said the Speaker who was on a tour to Nine Local Government Areas of Bichi Emirate is along side with the Chairman of the Committee Arch Aminu Dabo,Engr Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi, Hon Shehu Haruna Lambu, Engr Abubakar Kabir,Hon Ibrahim Zakari Bagwai and Alhaji Muntari Saleh
The Local Government Areas visited are,Minjibir, Makoda,Dambatta,Tsanyawa,Kunchi,Bichi,Bagwai,Tofa and Dawakin Tofa.
Ganduje’s Social Media Aides Emerge LG Chairmen In Kano
Two social media Aides of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje have emerged as Chairmen of two strategic Local Governments in Kano metropolis.
They are Faizu Alfindiki and Auwalu Lawan Aranposu.
Faizu Alfindiki was hitherto Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s Adviser on Public Affairs is well known for bashing and criticizing the 14th Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sunusi II.
Faizu Alfindiki was elected according to the Kano state Independent Electoral Commission as Chairman of Kano Municipal Council.
While Auwalu Lawan Aranposu was elected Chairman of the Nassarawa local Government Area.
Before his election, Auwalu Lawan Aranposu was Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s Special Assistant on Information Technology.
The duo of Aranposu and Faizu Alfindiki are known in Kano social media platforms especially Facebook in depending the policies of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s Administration.
According to Labarai24, Faizu Alfindiki faced stiff opposition before emerging as the candidate of All Progressives Congress in the Kano Municipal local government.
Democracy And The Politics Of Local Government Election In Nigeria
MUDASSIR ALIYU YUNUSA
Democracy is a political system of government in which people of a nation or a country are ruled base on the form they choose to establish through drafting a constitution guiding the conduct of the society.
Abraham Lincoln defines democracy as “the government of the people by the people for the people”. Therefore democracy has to do with popular sovereignty with the provision of law, order, welfare, and security to the citizens.
The most important feature of democracy is ELECTION, any political setup or political system without election will never be considered as a pure democracy.
The election is a legal way of choosing or selecting a leader through votes by people or groups of delegates vested with the power and authority to put in place and legitimizes individual(s) as a leader(s) in a governmental or nongovernmental organization.
It is also a procedure that allows members of an organization or community to choose somebody or some delegates to hold the position of authority to command and direct the affairs of the people.
The election also serves as another way through which citizens/electorates can evaluate and assess the viability and accountability of political leaders and or the activities of the government.
The system of direct election is recognized and adopted in Nigeria where eligible voters are allowed to conduct elections through the casting of votes directly to individuals vying for a particular political office.
Nigeria adopted the Federal System of Government with Three (3) tiers of government i.e Federal, States and Local Governments. The local government is the third tier of Government that engaged in some appropriate developmental services.
The United Nation office for public administration defines Local government “as a political subdivision of a nation or state which is constituted by law and has substantive control of local affairs including the power to impose taxes or to extract labor for prescribed purposes. the governing body of Local government should be ELECTED…….”
Nigeria practices democracy as its political system where election used to take place periodically, but this I can say is only applicable to Federal and State entities, but in the case of local Governments, the election became voluntary and sometimes optional, this is obvious as the task to conduct polls into Local Government councils is mainly controlled by State Governors (code, conduct, exercise, and final result). This is purely unacceptable and against the provision of the constitution.
The provisions of Local Government Reform of 1976 even though done by the Military Government, nevertheless provided that the essence of Local Government is to facilitate the exercise of democratic self-governance to people directly in order to encourage initiative and leadership potentials; to mobilize human/material resources through the involvement of members of the public in their local affairs for self-development; and also to provide the channels of communication between local communities and governments (both Federal and States).
This entails bringing people closer to the government and allowing them to participate fully in their own affairs.
However, considering the initial rules that back the reform of the local government as well as the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, local government should be fully democratized with elected officials to govern the council in the most appropriate manner.
Another unconstitutional treatment done to Local Governments in many cases some of their functions has been hijacked and taken over by the State Governments.
It is important to note that in many cases even their financial aids from other sources and grants from the federal government are controlled by the state Governments, where the councils are only allowed to receive some meager amount mostly for their recurrent expenditures like payment of salaries/wages; miscellaneous and low overhead expenses. However, rather than allowing the credible elections to hold, State Governors prefer to appoint whoever they so wish to oversee the affairs of Local Government as CARETAKERS/SOLE ADMINISTRATORS with little or no portfolio and power to endorse and carry out some important developmental projects. The most annoying thing is that even where Local Government’s ELECTION holds it is usually involved so many irregularities, election malpractice in form of rigging, thuggery, the imposition of incompetent candidates as well as the use of power to intimidate voters mostly in favor of the ruling party in the state.
In some states, opposition parties are indirectly not allowed to participate honorably in Local Government’s Elections, because they were deliberately not allowed to secure or win a single seat (even a councillorship seat).
Local Governments’ elections in Kano (2014, 2017), Jigawa (2014), and some other States are typical examples. This clearly justifies the lack of free, fair, and credible election in our society especially at the local level where the masses are in majority and to be honest this will not allow the masses at the grassroots to benefit and enjoy the dividend of democracy which is the only political profits ought to be gained by the electorates.
I suggest that the conduct and exercise of local Government’s Election should be single-handedly carried out by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rather than States Electoral bodies, so as to disengage State Governments from unconstitutional interference in Local Governments’ ELECTIONS.
I believe this will surely improve the level of credibility, acceptability, and the commitments attached to the third tier of government which in essence will provide social security, political fair play, and economic well-being.
Finally, As LOCAL GOVERNMENT’S ELECTION is set to hold next Saturday in KANO STATE, my hope to KANSIEC is to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, and my prayer is that each person elected would be suitable for the crown of leadership, very equal to the task and challenges of leadership and also ever ready to shoulder all the responsibilities attached to the office been elected upon.
MUDASSIR can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
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