Amidst heightened interest in the outcome of the report of the panel set up by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) to investigate alleged underage voting in the Kano State Local Government election, the state governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, has declared that nothing of such ever happened.
Following growing concerns over videos showing under aged voters as they thumb-printed ballot papers after the election, national chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, constituted an investigative committee, with Abubakar Nahuce, as chairman, and mandated to investigate if the voter register used during the state Local Government election was in tandem with the names of registered voters on INEC’s record.
The committee, last month submitted its report, but its findings have not been made public by INEC.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Ganduje dismissed the video clips, saying they were simulated, insisting that there was no evidence that the video was shot in Kano.
Ganduje, who adjudged the local government election as the best ever conducted in the history of the State, expressed confidence that he would be vindicated by the time INEC made public the findings of its panel.
“The answer to this should come from INEC. For the sake of clarity, that local government election was the most successful local government election ever held in Kano State. When you have a local government election where nobody was killed, no building was burnt, and we had a large turnout of voters, you’ll say it was a successful election.
“I have been in Kano for a long time and can say in some cases, Local government elections were not held at all because of insecurity. I am still reconstructing secretariats burnt during previous elections. In our own, nobody was hurt, nor arrested.
“Regarding the clip you are talking about, it is totally hypothetical. How can you see a queue of all children with no single adult? We did not use any card reader for the election and the child was holding a card reader.
“So, you can see that it was a photo trick. There was no underage voting in Kano. Yes, INEC set up a committee and they came to Kano. The chairman of our electoral commission showed them our records and proved to them that the clip was taken some years back. Our ICT experts discovered that the clip was first posted on the internet in 2015. You can verify that. It was a blackmail and anybody who is in doubt about the credibility of the election should go to court,” he said.
Sunday Tribune sought the reaction of INEC on why it was yet to release its result to the public and Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, spokesperson for Professor Yakubu, said the commission was still studying the report.
“Kindly recall that the INEC set up a Committee to investigate whether there were, indeed, underage voters on the INEC Voter’s Register used by the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission, for its recent Local Government election.
“This followed the uproar generated by some video clips circulated on the social media, depicting underage voting. The Committee has concluded its assignment and also submitted its report to the Commission, which we will study and take a decision on.
“That decision will be shared with Nigerians, as promised by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu. To that extent, I will say that it’s better to wait for the Commission’s decision on the matter. Thank you,” he said.