…. Democracy won, He said
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has hailed the conduct of the local government elections in the North-West state, describing it as a victory for democracy.
El-Rufai, who was a guest on Monday’s edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said the outcome squashed all speculations that he would interfere and manipulate the polls in which electronic voting was employed.
“People were laughing that I lost my polling unit, but you know, it is democracy that won.
“I am happy that the loss of my polling unit shows we did not program these machines, and we did not influence our Independent National Electoral Commission and the whole thing went very well,” El-Rufai stated.
He added, “those that claim that the machines were programmed were ashamed when it was reported that APC lost in my polling unit”.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won El-Rufai’s polling unit, but the governor has faulted detractors who believe the loss at his polling unit was a referendum on him.
“I am not on the ballot, so it is not a referendum on me. It is a referendum on the councillor and the performance of the local government chairman, and I am happy it went well,” the governor added.
He believes the election result clearly shows that Kaduna State residents are quite united and making choices based on the performances of their elected officials.
While speaking on the use of electronic voting at the polls, Governor El-Rufai said every responsible government should ensure that people vote in a free and fair election where their choices will matter.
This, according to him, is the reason he had subscribed to e-voting from inception
“I am happy the Independent National Electoral Commission took the necessary step to bring in this technology,” the governor said.
Although he admitted that there were issues in some local governments during the election, El-Rufai assured that the challenges are being attended to by the electoral body.
“There are issues that came up and the electoral commission is working on them. Two LGAs are still contentious, the results have not been communicated to me. I have been told that in Kachia, one of the LGAs, the election is inconclusive because the machines did not function in many polling units. Soba is awaited, but so far I will say that the exercise has gone reasonably well,” he stated.
Reacting to a question about the rejection of electronic voting as seen in the Senate when lawmakers voted along party lines, the Kaduna State leader said there is need for a lot of advocacy.
He, however, stressed that rejection of the method by the parliament was not an indication that the APC had taken a stand on the issue.
“Why you saw the voting along party lines is because incumbents want to protect what they have and if you are the incumbent, you want the status quo to remain because you would think this is the system that you have and that is the system that will return you to office,” he noted.
“I don’t think APC has something against electronic voting, and if they do, then I will not allow it to be implemented in my state.”
According to him, the legislators took individual positions and not a party stand on the matter.
Nonetheless, El-Rufai was optimistic that with the success recorded in Kaduna, he would do more advocacy to help others appreciate the value of electronic voting.
“I will personally take this up with Mr President and the Senate President, as well as the Speaker of the House; and try to get more advocates,” the former minister assured.
The main issue, he explained, is that people need to understand that the e-voting system is (nearly) full proof and guarantees that, in the end, the people’s choices prevail.