As the local government election takes place on Saturday across 19 of the 23 local government areas of Kaduna state, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected results of the elections, alleging that the election results were predetermined.
Seamless electronic voting
Kaduna state government through the State Independent Electoral Commission (Kadsiecom) deployed Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) for the council polls, the first in Nigeria.
Though the process faced some teething challenges, mainly technical, the process was seamless in all the polling units visited by Blueprint across Kaduna North and Kaduna South local governments within the Kaduna metropolis.
But PDP has condemned the polls noting that it was rigged in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
A PDP stakeholder, Dr AbdulRahman Usman, told journalists on Saturday in a press briefing at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna state council, that the EVM that were supposed to start reading from zero have been programmed to give the ruling party advantage over others.
“The integrity of the results have been compromised. PDP went into this election against Sielcom, the APC and Governor Nasir el-Rufai. There was a ward in Barnawa (Kaduna South local government area) where the result printed as at 10am this morning (Saturday) reads 182 for APC and 18 for PDP giving all other parties zero.
“Despite the poor state of finance in the state, a humongous amount of money have been wasted on the electronic voting machine, which has largely been compromised. Public funds have been diverted and mismanaged.
“The machine were functioning well but despite our warnings and cries ahead of the elections, the results have been programmed to give APC advantage over other political parties. The integrity of the process has been compromised, the integrity of the machine has been compromised.
“In the election, it is APC, Sielcom and El-Rufai against the people of Kaduna and other political parties.
“In Igabi local government, seven persons were shot as there were efforts to cart away electoral materials. How can we get free, fair election in such a situation,” the PDP stalwart said.
What Blueprint correspondent witnessed
Blueprint investigations revealed that the way the Electronic Voting Machine operates, after accreditation, you swipe your voters’ card on the machine, it would display the political parties’ icons. Then the voter will punch the icon of his choice party and press OK to validate it, then the machine will print out the voting slip into a container inbuilt in the machine.
The process is then repeated for the councillorship election.
Speaking after voting at 019 unit in Ungwar Muhammad, Ungwar Sarki Kaduna North local government, an electorate, Alhaji Musa Muhammad described the voting process as perfect noting that it avoids time wasting and delays.
“The electoral process is perfect. I’m impressed. I can see changes in the voting process. No time wasting, no (mago mago) fraud. The machines that pose technical problems, it is Siecom challenge to ensure that such technical problems are fully addressed. It is not good to say an electronic voting machine poses such challenge.”