Kano LG Poll: Can KANSIEC make any difference January 16?

Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) is set toconduct local government elections in the state on 16th January, 2021.

Daily Telescope reports that the commission has been up and doing in the last two months trying to ensure that necessary arrangements for conducting credible elections
are put in place before the election day.

Twelve (12) political parties excluding the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have indicated their interest in participating in the poll.

A total of 48,000 ad-hoc staff comprising electoral officers, assistant electoral officers and ward electoral officers were expected to handle the election across the 44 local governments of the state.

The state electoral officers are expected to recruit ward electoral officers in the 44 local government areas. Each of the 44 local governments will be allocated with an electoral office and one, two or three assistant electoral officers depending on the population of the
local government.

Accreditation of election observers is on pipeline, according to the commission’s spokesperson, Malam Dahiru Lawal Kofar-Wambai. He said the exercise, which was among the few things that have not been put in place by the commission, would be conducted soon.

Kofar-Wambai said the commission had on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 distributed all non-sensitive election materials such as voters’ registers and stamps among others to all wards across the 44 local governments.

He said the sensitive election materials such as ballot papers and ballot boxes, would be sent to the 44 local government areas on the eve of election and under maximum security.

Daily Telescope reliably gathered that security agencies on their part, will make their position public as per deployment of security personnel and other security arrangements for the election latest by next week.

However, two major opposition parties, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) have boycotted the election, on grounds that the commission will not do justice to other political parties during the election.

The decision by the PDP and PRP will seriously affect the credibility of the poll, as many political observers are of the opinion that those who agreed to participate in the poll were sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.

The PDP’s state Chairman, Alhaji Shehu Wada Sagagi said his party boycotted the election on the followings reasons; “that the PDP wanted the peaceful political atmosphere in the state to prevail, that both government and the electoral commission are not serious and ready to conduct all-inclusive election in the state and that the APC-led
government will not allow democracy to play its part in the poll.”

Sagagi stated that his party had never been contacted on anything related to election neither by the KANSIEC nor the state government.

According to Alhaji Sammani Shariff, chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP)in Kano, the election was completely dramatized by the APC-led government.

Sharrif said: “The contest forms were sold to candidates of the major opposition parties such as PDP and PRP but given free to candidates of the ruling party and other minor opposition parties.

Beside this, he said the price of the forms is costly as a form for chairmanship position is N250,000 while that of councilor stands at N150,000.

“How can you give such a huge amount of money to an electoral body that you are not certain that it will not do justice to you during the election? To be honest, our party boycotted the election because the electoral commission is not serious at all.

“In as much as the State Independent Electoral Commission will continue to conduct local government elections, we will never conduct free and fair election at local government level in this country.”

But the former Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano state, Senator Mas’ud El-Jibril Doguwa, said the boycott by the PDP and PRP would not in any way affect the credibility of the poll.

Doguwa was of the opinion that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should take over the conduct LG poll.

He said: “Provided governors will be allowed to conduct the poll, the issue of having free and fair election at state level should not be expected. There is no way a governor can conduct election and allow his party to be defeated by opposition parties.

Daily Telescope observed based on the level of preparations by the electoral commission and other stakeholders including the political parties, one might have expected that the forthcoming local government poll to be credible and free from all forms of irregularities.

However, the question here is that can the commission make any difference this time around? This is because it is the same electoral body that conducted a similar election in the state on February 10, 2018 which was characterized by irregularities ranging from late
arrival of election materials, low turnout of voters and underage voting among others, that will conduct the January 16 poll.

Again, the February 10, election was supervised by the same Chairman, Professor Garba Ibrahim Sheka and it is the same person that will again supervise it this time around.

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