The Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) has said that the proposed probe of underage voting in the recently conducted local council elections in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will vindicate it and strengthen the confidence of the public in the agency.
“While we hail the INEC’s decision to investigate the allegations, we want to restate our stand that the election, which was supervised by independent monitors (Civil Society Organisations) is adjudged fair and most peaceful in history of Kano state,” said Prof. Garba Ibrahim Sheka, the KANSIEC chairman.
The Kano electoral umpire came under severe criticism when viral photos and videos surfaced online showing several kids thumbing ballots in the election which was overwhelmingly won by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in all 44 local councils.
Following condemnation by Nigeria’s, the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed at an election preparation workshop in Lagos that the electoral umpire will probe the incident.
KANSIEC said it will cooperate with the INEC investigators “to ascertain the veracity of the allegation made in respect of underage voting during the conduct of the election.”
Meanwhile the Special Adviser to the governor of Kano state on new media, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, has dismissed the allegation of underage voting during this month’s local council elections as “fabricated lies.”
Speaking in a statement published on his social media page, Yakasai said “the viral videos and photos being circulated on social media and other online platforms are fabricated lies, and this probe will certainly vindicate the state electoral body of any wrongdoing in the exercise. KANSIEC is indeed ready, and willing to cooperate with INEC on the issue.”
Recall that shortly after the photos first emerged, Kano Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje described them as “political propaganda” by his political opponents. He directly accused his predecessor, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso as the mastermind of the allegations.
“All those pictures of children are pictures of assembled children they took, so it’s not true, it is part of the propaganda,” he said after a meeting with Pres. Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa.