Arising from its concern for improving elections integrity that can promote greater participation of citizens, the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) in partnership with ActionAid International Nigeria under the Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Process (SCEEP) project has monitored the conduct of the Local Governments Elections in Kano state, the elections were conducted on Saturday 10th February, 2018 across the 44 local councils of the state.
CITAD and its partner deployed a total number of sixty (60) trained observers across six local governments of the state, namely Gaya, Rano, Kano Municipal Council, Nasarawa, Karaye and Kabo to observe the election at different polling units.
Elections at all levels should be regarded as core democratic values where citizens are allowed to exercise their civic rights without frustration or intimidation. Civil society organizations are great partners to sustainable democracy, as such engaging them and other relevant stakeholders is pertinent not only to survival of sustainable polity, but to maintain people’s confidence and ensure continuous development. Organizing the LGs elections in Kano state on 10th February, 2018 is commendable but we note and regrettably the following:
- Limitation of accreditation of election observers by the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC), even though many CSOs have indicated and submitted their requests to the commission to allow them monitor the conduct of the elections.
- Election officials and materials were in several instances not delivered to polling units on time, an action that discouraged and made voters to boycott polling units.
- Insufficient provision of ballot papers in many polling units, at a particular polling unit, there were over 600 registered voters but only 200 ballot papers were issued to it even though there was considerable turnout of voters in some polling units.
- In most of the local governments within and outside Kano metropolis, voting began between 3:30pm and 4:15pm.
- A number of new registered voters could not find their names on the voters register presented by KANSIEC as it is yet to be updated.
- Voting did not take place in some polling units as the electorates waited but long enough but could not see either election officials or materials, this is worse in Karaye local government.
- Underage voting has been witnessed in some places.
- Conducting free, credible and fair elections not only helps democracy but consolidate it especially at local government levels, Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) did not take that into consideration in the just concluded LGs elections.
- People living with disability were discouraged from voting in certain polling units having to join long queues.
- There were cases of open multiple voting in many places.
- To improve election conduct, election observation requests from groups and bodies should be given the necessary attention and support from electoral bodies such as Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC)
- Provisions shall be made to allow people with special needs to easily vote in elections, eg dedicating a particular section or queue for them, providing a shade under which albinos can wait.
- There should be adequate and concrete plans to ensure prompt delivery of election materials to all polling units.
- Voters register should be continuously updated to allow emerging voters find their names and cast their votes.
- Underage voting should not be condoned by election officials and security agents.
- Election materials and officials shall be taken to all polling units.
- Enough security agents should be deployed to all voting centers to maintain order.
Hamza Ibrhaim, Media Coordinator, Election Monitoring-Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD).
Salisu M. Indabawa-Centre for Human Rights and Social Advancement.
Nura Ahmad Muhammad-Mufarka Youths Development Association