Local government elections in Nigeria have been perceived as selection of preferential candidates by the state governors. It was described as the process of selecting cronies of governors who will rig election for them during any gubernatorial election. It was described as zero behind a decimal point.
Many people believed that local government elections in Nigeria would never be a transparent, free and fair as long as State Independent Electoral Commissions would be conducting them because of the huge influence of state governors who normally rig the elections because of their personal and selfish political interests.
Nigerians have already lost confidence in local government elections that is why there is always low turnouts of voters whenever there is such elections.
The local government election that was conducted on 12th May, 2018, in Kaduna state, has revived the confidence of many Nigerians that if state governors will act democratically, local government election would be a credible and transparent one.
It was the most fair and freest election when we look at how local government elections are conducted today in Nigeria where ruling parties win all the local council elections, but the Kaduna State local government election was totally different where the leading opposition party (PDP) won three local government areas of Zangon Kataf, Kauru, Kachia and some local government councillors.
This electronic voting saved N1.7 billion that could have been spent for the printing of ballot papers. What makes this election unique was the introduction of electronic voting machines. It was very simple and fast.
In fact, it will not take you more than three minutes for you to cast your votes and disappear.
This was achieved because of the firm conviction of our governor that we are in 21st century.
Therefore, we must embrace technology.
The State Independent Electoral Commission has also deserved commendation because of the sleepless nights it had for this great achievement to be possible.
Both El Rufai and SIECOM have entered the book of record in Nigeria where electronic voting was first introduced.
The indigines of Kaduna state have also deserved to be applauded for their decent conduct during the election because there was absence of electoral violence except in the two local governments of Kaura and Jaba where the election was postponed.
For this exercise to be more secured and transparent in the forthcoming elections, card reader should also be used to verify and authenticates the voters so that nobody can use someone’s voter’s card.
INEC should also use these machines but with card readers so that to bridge any gap for manipulation, but it is not recommendable for INEC to make use of only these electronic machines without using card readers like what happened in Kaduna state.
Hasheem B Ahmad, Kaduna