Following allegation of issuance of voters cards and subsequent voting by under-aged persons in the recently conducted local government elections in Kano State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set up a committee to investigate the allegations.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, constituted the committee on Wednesday while receiving members of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria in his office in Abuja. He added that the committee, comprising eight members, will be headed by a National Commissioner, saying that committee has two weeks to submit its report.
Members of the eight-man panel are as follows: Engr. Abubakar Nahuche (chairman), Mrs. May Agbamuche- Mbu, Barrister Mike Igini, Barrister Kassim Geidam, Yakubu Duku, Mrs. Rukayat Bunmi Bello, Mr. Paul Omokore and Mr. Jude Chikezie Okwuonu. has two weeks to submit its report.
According to the INEC Chairman, the committee is not investigating the conduct or outcome of the Local Government election by the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission, rather,it shall focus solely on the allegation of under-aged persons on the voters register.
Yakubu further disclosed that the development is one of the areas through which INEC can collaborate with electoral bodies in the states to improve processes and procedures towards strengthening the nation’s electoral process.
The committee’s term of reference include: to ascertain if the voter register requested by the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission was actually used in the local government election; investigate the widespread report that persons below the statutory age of 18 years voted using INEC’s register; engage with stakeholders on issues related to the use of the voter register in the election ; and make any recommendations which are relevant to the assignment of the committee.
He assured the Forum that INEC is ready to partner with states electoral bodies.
The INEC boss said, “New areas of cooperation need to be explored, including ways of strengthening the independence of SIEC’s and systematically building the capacity of Election Management Bodies in Nigeria to conduct elections that meet national and international standards of acceptability and credibility”.
Speaking on behalf of the Forum, Justice Igbozurike Akomas said the visit by the Forum leadership is to reawaken and strengthen the tenets of the memorandum of understanding that exists between the Forum and INEC do as to achieve the core objectives of conducting free, fair and credible elections at all level.
The Forum also solicited continued cooperation of INEC in discharging their duties, while expressing support for INEC in the development of electronic voting system.
Akomas said, “The Forum want to use this medium to request that we be carried along by the Commission in the development of the system by way of capacity building and experience sharing on the system”.