By Ezeocha Nzeh
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday washed its hands off the underage voting at the just concluded Kano State Local Government election at the weekend.
The social media had been awash with reports and photographs of underage voting during the local council election in Kano state, which the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) won in all the 44 local government areas.
INEC in a statement issued yesterday by its Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osazr- Uzi noted that the Commission did not exercise any influence in the conduct of the local council election, stressing that the Kano incident was solely the responsibly of the Kano State government and the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC)
“The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to videos and pictures purportedly showing some underage thumb printing ballot papers in a recent election. These images have been circulating online since Saturday.
“The Commission wishes to inform the public that the images do not relate in any way to any election organised, conducted or superintended by INEC. As far as the Commission can ascertain, they relate to a Local Government election conducted at the weekend, and over which we have no legal control or responsibility whatsoever.
INEC emphasized that while the it remains resolute in its commitment to sanitize the nation’s electoral process and deliver free, fair and credible elections, the Commission cannot be held directly liable for an exercise outside its legal purview.
“It should be pointed out that Local Government elections are exclusively the constitutional responsibility of the respective State Electoral Commissions, who are in no way under the control or supervision of INEC. On our part, INEC assures the public that we are doing all we can to ensure a credible election as was once again demonstrated in the Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency election in Katsina State on Saturday”, INEC declared.
The Commission also noted that it has not received any complaint of challenges some citizens have encountered in trying to get registered at some of the centres in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise
It noted however that steps have been taken to reduce such challenges, including the deployment of additional Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines for registration, with the more populated centres getting priority attention.
“In addition, the number of registration centres has been increased to 1,446 nationwide. While thanking Nigerians for their patience and understanding, we believe that with the measures taken so far, the queues and other identified challenges will soon abate”, INEC assured.