Kano underage voting saga: Political parties received voter’s register before election, ISDMG reveals

Kano underage voting saga: Political parties received voter’s register before election, ISDMG reveals

Chris Steven, Abuja

The Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) Thursday revealed that all opposition parties in Kano State and indeed all other states where there allegations of underage voters were furnished with the content of voter’s register by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as stipulated by the constitution without any objection to it.

Chima Amadi, the Executive Director of the group, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, where he said that the need to highlight and bring to the fore the status of the country’s voter’s register became imperative following the massive outcry that trailed the 2018 Kano state local government elections that was characterised by underage voters.

The outrage, he noted, prompted the group to send FOI request to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to find out if it has been complying with its statutory powers to compile, maintain and update voters’ register has provided in Section 9 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

Amadi said: “the Electoral Management Body in response to FOI request we sent to them responded that since last two election cycles that they have been issuing copies of the register to political parties, there was no record of any of the political party ever approaching the commission with any claims and objections as per the contents of the register.

“Our FOI request included availing us with evidence of such presentation of copies to the political parties and we hereby furnish you with them.

“ We were astonished to learn that all opposition parties in Kano State and indeed all other states where allegations of underage voters, aliens and other unqualified persons have ever been made, no political party in the country has ever reached out to INEC with any objection to the copies of the register which they hold.

“There is no doubt that polity parties remain an integral part of the process aimed at achieving the desired reforms of institutionalising a credible electoral process. If they are failing in their responsibilities, it falls in the civil society to remind and reawaken them to their responsibilities,

“Crying after the milk is spilt when there was ample opportunity to ensure the milk did not spill is reactionary and not in the interest of democracy and particularly free and fair election,” Amado stated.