Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, disclosed on Friday, March 5, 2018, that the Commission expended over N100 million on the failed recall of Senator Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial zone in the state.
Prof Yakubu, made the disclosure while refuting claims by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that the alleged APC instigated recall gulped a N1 billion.
“The recall process of the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial district, you will remember that the recall is the same thing like conducting fresh election.
“We conducted the recall in 552 polling units in seven Local Government Areas in the state. The cost of the recall was a little over N100 million not N1 billion as claimed. The substantial part of it went into the period of preparation for the recall process,” he said.
He also absolved the commission of any complicit role in the Kano local government election where it was claimed that underaged voters freely participated.
The INEC chairman maintained that the voters register currently in use by INEC is the same used in 2011 and 2015, pointing out that the 4 million new voters registered by the present INEC administration is yet to be included in the overall INEC database.
Reacting to the report of the panel set to investigate the veracity of the allegation, the INEC boss said the voters register which INEC gave to Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) was not used in the conduct of the polls.
He panel he said observed that the voters register was sighted only in some polling units.
“The commission gave the voters register to the KSIEC and they acknowledged the receipt of it. The second issue on the report is whether underage persons voted in Kano using voters register and that is what we said that there is no connection between what transpired in Kano and our voters’ register.
“In many places they did not even make use of the register and there was no accreditation of voters. However, as for whether underage persons voted in the Kano elections, it was not the concern of the commission. The process of the election was completely independent of the electoral body.
“Given that the register was not used substantially to accredit voters before voting, it is logical to conclude that if under-aged voting occurred in the election it was not due to any presence of under-aged registrants on the register of voters
“For the fact that we experience this in Kano, we will subject the register nationwide to scrutiny. Section 12 (1) of the Electoral Act is actually very clear about who is eligible to register in Nigeria and how the voters register is supposed to be cleaned up.
“At the end of every quarter of the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), the entire register will be displayed at the registration centres. The purpose is for the citizens to look at the register and draw the attention of the commission to the prevalence of any ineligible person in the register. We are not only pasting names but the complete register with the pictures.
“We also make the copies available to all the political parties in accordance with the law. We made the copies available to all the 64 registered political parties February this year. As we speak, we have not received a single complain from any political party in the prevalence of indelible persons on the register.
“Let me reiterate that this Commission is convinced that we now have a dependable register, even if it is not perfect. We believe that it is a huge national asset, easily the largest database of Nigerians in existence today containing over 70 million entries of names, addresses, photographs, 10 fingerprints, telephone numbers etc.
“I implore all Nigerians to see the value of this national asset and work with the commission to continue to improve it. Considering that there are few if any perfect voters roll anywhere, we can continue to work together with stakeholders and indeed all citizens to ensure that all ineligible registrants and entries are removed from the register and that eligible voters who have not registered take advantage of the ongoing CVR.