From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Kaduna State Deputy governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe has said that the State will maintain use of electronic voting machines in the forthcoming local government election in the State as it did for similar elections in May 2018.
Balarabe said Kaduna State government has proven that elections can be safely conducted in Nigeria using electronic voting system.
She recalled that Kaduna State was the first government to use electronic voting in Nigeria, “and it is ready to conduct the September local government election using Electronic Voting Machines in the State”.
The deputy governor made the remark during a stakeholders’ sensitisation programme organised by the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECOM).
She pointed out that Kaduna State Government has made considerable investments in electronic voting, which, “it considers a worthwhile deployment of technology towards ensuring that votes count and that the results reflect the actual preferences that the voters expressed.”
She commended KAD-SIECOM for its effort to make Kaduna State the pioneer in electronic voting.
Dr. Balarabe noted that the state government welcomes the electoral body’s decision to learn from the challenges encountered in 2018 by reconfiguring the electronic voting machines to integrate the card reader and ensuring that each voter’s card can only be used once.
The Deputy Governor reiterated that the administration of governor Nasir El-rufai has demonstrated its commitment to a viable, democratically elected, and responsive local government system.
“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,’’ Dr Balarabe said.
The Deputy Governor pointed out that the deployment of electronic voting was not without its challenges, “which had everything to do with the basic 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,’’ she added.
The Deputy Governor said that with the reconfiguration of the electronic voting machine to integrate the card reader, KAD-SIECOM has now solved the problem.