In a record-setting move, the local government elections in Kaduna State are to be conducted using Electronic Voting Machines.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said his government has invested considerable sums in electronic voting because the All Progressives Congress (APC) believes votes must count.
Mr. El-Rufai was speaking at the flag-off of the APC’s campaign for the local government elections in the state. The ceremony, which held at the Kaduna Township Stadium, had in attendance John Oyegun, national chairman of the APC; Zainab Ahmed, minister of state, budget and national planning, and senior officials of the Kaduna APC.
“We have made the most significant investment ever to promote electoral integrity and transparency in Nigeria. Our local government elections will be the first ever in Nigeria conducted by electronic voting,” the governor said.
“By introducing electronic voting machines, this government is affirming its democratic credentials, a firm belief that people’s vote must count.”
Acknowledging that INEC’s introduction of the card reader for the 2015 elections helped promote electoral integrity, Mr. El-Rufai said Kaduna is now taking it a step further to bring full electronic voting.
Mr. El-Rufai disclosed that the APC is making life better in Kaduna State.
He said the APC government in Kaduna State has in three years worked hard to overcome the legacy of sorrow that PDP left.
He reminded the people that 16 years of PDP rule left most public schools without furniture and other amenities.
To move the state forward, the APC has 1293 projects at various stages of completion across the state, he said, adding that the projects are being funded by unprecedented levels of capital spending .
“In each of the two full budget years we have had, 2016 and 2017, this government has spent more than N60bn on schools, hospitals, roads and water projects.”
“This injection of at least N120bn of budgetary investments into our state comes at a difficult period of national economic challenges. But we have been able to this because we have overthrown the corrupt legacy of the PDP; because the purpose of government has been rightly adjusted to making life better for our people through a commitment to their Education, Health, Jobs and Security.”
Speaking on the imminent LG elections in the state, Mr. El-Rufai disclosed that the APC is confident that the people will entrust the 23 local governments in the party that has given them life.
“As firm believers in democracy at the local level, we have invested considerable time in making our local governments fit for purpose,” he said.
“It is no exaggeration to affirm that we have reinvented the local government system.
“We inherited a system where many of our local government councils were so over-bloated that at least eight of them could not pay salaries without state government support. That system was so perverse that funds were illegally squeezed from solvent councils to pay bankrupt councils.
“By changing the laws, and removing their excess personnel burdens, all of our 23 local government councils are now solvent, able to pay their own staff and still have enough funds left to delivers services and projects. We have set our local government councils free from years of bankruptcy!”
The offices of the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission were recently gutted by fire. But the government says it is resolutely supporting SIECOM’s determination to hold the election as scheduled.
APC national chairman, Mr. Oyegun, who handed flags to the party’s chairman candidates, said he is proud to be present on the day electronic voting was introduced in Nigeria. Mr. Oyegun received into the APC prominent politicians and their supporters who have decamped from the PDP.
Mr. El-Rufai said the local government elections present an opportunity for Kaduna State voters to permanently retire the politicians of deceit and selfishness who are blocking the progress of the state, and impeding service delivery to ordinary people.