Monday, November 26, 2018

MATTERS ARISING: Ballot box reads Kano but INEC says underage voters are from Kenya

MATTERS ARISING: Ballot box reads Kano but INEC says underage voters are from Kenya
March 03
14:52 2018

The underage voting saga is beginning to develop a K-leg, literally. The pictures of kid voters are from Kenya and not Kano, according to the latest information from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The inconsistency in the narratives of underage voters participating in last month’s local government election in Kano cannot but leave one wondering what the truth really is. 

After the poll, images of children thumb-printing during an election surfaced on the internet. This made some of the political parties that participated in the poll to demand a cancellation of the exercise, arguing that it was fraught with irregularities.

But the All Progressives Congress (APC) which emerged victorious in all the 44 local government areas in the state dismissed the allegation and since then it has been one story or the other.


Two days after the controversial poll, Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, attended a programme at the presidential villa in Abuja. During his interaction with state house correspondents, he was asked to react to the issue. Ganduje claimed that the pictures were taken from the assembly ground of a school.

KANSEIC logo and Kano map in Kenya?

“That is propaganda. You can ask the national observers who went there. They held a press conference. All those pictures were those of children during a school assembly… it is not true, it is part of the propaganda. We don’t even need to respond to such falsehood… We can’t rely on the social media where things are crafted,” he had said.


Initially, the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) rubbed the blame on the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC), saying it had no control and could not be held liable.

INEC consequently set up a panel to probe the allegations.

In an attempt to defend KANSIEC, Mohammed Garba, the state commissioner for information, said the videos and pictures were captured during the 2015 general election. Could this be the case of looking for lies to cover up more lies?


While the debate on the inconsistencies of stakeholders was still on, INEC’s panel dropped a bombshell. According to Abubakar Nahuche, head of the 8-man investigative committee, there was no evidence that underage took part in the exercise.

K-leg: Like Kano, like Kenya… just that the logo is clear

Nahuche said findings revealed that the pictures were shot during elections in Kenya.

“All (pictures and videos) what we saw were from social media and they are not verifiable. Some of them (pictures and videos) are not even from Nigeria, some are from Kenya elections but people are attributing them to Nigeria.”

The issue of underage voting is not peculiar to Nigeria. The internet was flooded with pictures of children voting in Kenya’s presidential rerun election. Perhaps that was what came to the mind of Nahuche when uttered those words at a press conference in Kano on Friday.

Giving the children a chance in Kenya, albeit illegally


Checks by TheCable showed that one of the pictures surfaced on the internet on February 11, 2018, a day after the local government poll.

In the picture, the ballot box, which INEC claimed “is from Kenya” has KANO STATE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION (KANSIEC) clearly written on it.

Still on the ballot box is a map. A comparison of this map to that of Kano shows an evident similarity. Also, the colour of the ballot box is green and white, Nigeria’s national colours, while those of Kenya are black, white, red and green. The dress pattern of the children in the picture is glaringly Nigerian and not Kenyan.  Does Kenya have its own KANSIEC or there is another Kano state in the East African nation?

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of INEC, has a lot of explaining to do

Nahuche might have forgotten that the electoral body admitted that it registers underage.

“I agree that it is the responsibility of the registration officer to do that (refuse to register underage persons), but there are times that circumstances are such that where there is present and clear danger that he risks being assaulted or being killed, I think it will be unreasonable to expect him not to succumb to the pressure. But we encourage them to report immediately they get out of that dangerous zone,” Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, director of publicity and voter education, had said in the heat of the controversy.

Although the investigative panel is yet to submit its report, one of the expectations is a recommendation on how the problem raised by Osaze-Uzi can be tackled. Not to make people wonder if it followed the rigour required in an investigation of this nature.


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1 Comment

  1. MC
    MC March 04, 09:34

    Sick and disturbing public servants

    Reply to this comment

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