KADUNA—Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has denied the request by Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission, KADSIECOM, to use its card readers for the May 12 local government election in the state.
Nonetheless, Chairman of KADSIECOM, Dr Saratu Binta Dikko-Audu, yesterday, said INEC’s refusal to allow the commission use the card readers and the recent fire outbreak at the commission’s head office will not stop it from going ahead with the election.
However, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state has called for the postponement of the election because of its national convention in Abuja, while Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state expressed fears that the election may not be free and fair because of the non-usage of card readers.
Dikko-Audu who met with stakeholders preparatory to the election said INEC refused to release the card readers to KADSIECOM because it was preparing for the 2019 elections.
She said despite the setback and the recent fire incident at the head office of the state electoral body, elections into the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State will hold as scheduled.
She said: “We started talking to INEC about card readers about two years ago. But we were shocked to get a letter from INEC that it would not be able to provide us with the card readers because it was preparing for 2019 election.
“INEC cannot hold us back, we have to go ahead with our election as scheduled. If there is anybody here that can convince INEC to give us the card readers we will appreciate it. However, we are going to use electronic voting machine, which is one of the sensitive materials.”
However, the main opposition party, PDP, kicked against the conduct of the election without card readers, saying fairness of such election may not be guaranteed.
State secretary of the PDP, Ibrahim Wusono, said the non-usage of the card readers “is a grand design to rig the election, and, therefore, it is not acceptable to us in the PDP. The card readers must be made available during the election.”
On its part, the APC called for the postponement of the election because of the forthcoming national convention of the party that will hold two days after the local government election.
The state secretary of APC, Yahaya Baba-Pate, said: “We in the APC are calling for the postponement of the election because of the APC national convention coming up on May 14. It has been the tradition nationwide that whenever there is national event, the state event has to step down for the national event. Therefore, we are calling on KADSIECOM to postpone the election to enable stakeholders prepare for the national convention.”