…Says, “No voting in 5 Polling Units in Kaduna North;
…Governor’s aids change trained Polling Unit Officers.”
…Calls for cancelation of polls.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Kaduna State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has alarmed the public that, over 38 Electronics Voting Machines (EVM) were malfunctioned in Zaria and Kachia local governments alone during the local government council elections held on Saturday in the State.
The party also revealed that its agents and party stalwarts were beaten and molested in different LGs during the exercise in the presence of security agents, who looked the other way.
A statement issued and signed by State Chairman of the party, Hon. Felix Hassan Hyat, shortly after the elections in the State averred that, high incident of violence was recorded and some of their officials were driven away from their duty post during the elections.
“We most emphatically wish to condemn the high incidence of violence, which manifested in the molestation of our Agents and party stalwarts, in which they were beaten, molested and even driven away from their duty post during the currency of the electoral process.
“It is all the more worrisome to note that, all of this took place right in the presence of security agents, who chose to look the other way and, thus, shirked their responsibility of maintaining peace and tranquility in the society.
“Of particular note is that, incidence of this nature preponderantly took place in Sanga Local Government where soldiers were deployed by some top functionaries of government, unlawfully, against public interest and good to sabotage the electoral process,” PDP stated.
PDP recalled that, in 2018, the Local Government Election in many wards were marred by incidence of Ward Returning Officers, who failed to report in their wards where they were expected to oversee collation and declaration of duly elected councillors and record votes cast in favour of various candidates for the Chairmanship position.
“We find it most abhorring and dishonourable the conduct of some Returning/Presiding Officers as in Makarfi Local Government, who upturned results of Councillorship polls already declared at the Ward level – either by outright cancellation and/or making a different declaration from what was made at the Ward level.
“It is pertinent to point out that, only results of Chairmanship Candidates are officially declared at the Local Government Collation Centres. In likewise manner, a Returning Officer in Kudan Local Government ran away after election had been concluded at the Ward level, only to surface later at the Local Government Collation Centre to declare results that are totally at variance with what was recorded by EVM at Ward level.
“The issue of malfunctioning of machines was seriously recorded in Limancin Kona Ward, Zaria Local Government Area, where out of 32 machines only 4 were functioning. Also in Sabon Sarki Ward, Kachia Local Government Area, out of the 12 machines deployed, only 2 were functional.
“Similarly, in Barnawa Ward in Kaduna South Local Government Area, EVMs were found inputted with results placing APC in the lead, even before the first ballot was cast (APC 186 votes and PDP 18 votes),” it stated, adding that, incidences of this nature were also reported in Makarfi and Sanga Local Government Areas of the State.
“Furthermore, in Kawo Ward, Kaduna North Local Government, there was no voting in five (5) Polling Units,” it stated, calling on KAD-SIECOM to urgently do the needful and address issues raised, “as they all go to the root of the integrity, fairness and outcome of the elections.”
PDP also stated that, Governor El-Rufai had consistently promised the people of Kaduna State free and fair Local Government Councils Elections through a modernized system of voting; hence his heavy investment in the procurement of EVM.
“On this, we have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the governor. However, our reports from all over the State show that his aids changed the names of Polling Unit Officers that were trained with untrained cronies. This led to the non-functioning of the EVM in many Polling Units across the State.
“This has, therefore, made nonsense of the governor’s efforts and brought his promise to public ridicule,” it stated.
According to PDP, Governor El-Rufai should, therefore, take a second look at the attitudes and behaviours of his “so-called” trusted aides, if he is to regain public confidence in this area.
PDP, therefore, called on the general public to remain calm and quietly go about their activities, and assured all of their deep commitment to the democracy and preparedness to take all necessary steps to defend and safeguard same in Kaduna State in particular and Nigeria in general.
Earlier, the PDP had rejected the entire results of the election and called for the cancellation of the Polls completely. It also commended the Kaduna PDP electorates in particular for coming out to cast their votes despite frustrating EVMs and environment.