AS KADUNA SIECOM BOSS TO RECORD SUCCESSFUL LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
…..USING THE ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE
Call him the most result-oriented Governor Kaduna State has ever had and you won’t be wrong, Governor Nasir El-rufai has continued to prove even much more than that as he records many first amongst his colleagues.
It came as no surprise to many when he appointed Dr. Binta Saratu Dikko Audu as Chairman of the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECOM) in 2018. Kaduna SIECOM also became the first election management body under Binta Saratu Dikko Audu to use electronic voting deploying it for elections into the 23 Local Government Area Councils of the State.
In 2018, when Kaduna state first conducted elections using the electronic voting system it was the first time Nigeria will adopt electronic voting. The then extant law, namely the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission Act No. 10 of 2012 was amended to establish voting in section 16(3) thereof. Although there were allegations of multiple voting and other challenges back then, El-Rufai believed the process will get better.
Moreso, he said his government does not believe in rigging elections, “neither do we want other parties to cheat us, that is why we have encouraged SIECOM to come up with fool proof voting process” knowing SIECOM has made improvements on using the electronic voting machines, September 4 during the last Local Government Elections the state adopted the electronic voting system again under the chairmanship of Dr. Binta Saratu Dikko Audu.
CityPeople reliably gathered that at the end of the local government elections, due to the modern technology adopted by SIECOM, it was reported that most of the challenges observed in 2018 had been addressed, multiple voting was no longer possible. “The software had been upgraded to deny any voter an attempt to vote a second time,” the governor said.
The Electronic voting machine is a computerized box with “cancel” and “ok” buttons that could be used by even an illiterate. Other features of the box include a selection of the logo of the party, you want to vote for, and tap either ok or cancel.
The cancel button, CityPeople learnt allows you to change your mind if you so wish. Each EVM is powered by a battery that can last up to 16 hours, KADIESCOM, worked in collaboration with the telecoms company to provide the network for the transmission of results which made voting quite easy.
Saratu Dikko Audu, also deployed about 18,000 Adhoc staff, whose main assignment was the verification of the voter register. Dikko Audu was first sworn in as the chairman of SIECOM in 2015, and re-appointed and sworn in 21st June 2021 for her second tenure. A graduate of chemistry from ABU Zaria (1971) she also holds an MSC from the University of Alberta Canada and a PhD. Carbohydrate Chemistry from Southern Illinois University.
Binta Saratu was also the principal school of Basic Studies Zaria, General Manager, National Open University of Nigeria Consult and Investment Limited, member of the Governing Council and Vice-Chancellor selection committee the University of Benin, and member of the Governing Council University of Port Harcourt.
Governor El-Rufai described Dr. Saratu Binta Dikko Audu as someone who is “tough, smart and independent-minded will never be forced to do anything wrong under her leadership of SIECOM”.
Twice now, 2018 and 2021, the El-Rufai administration has shown that electronic voting is doable, there may be hitches and challenges, but these were identified and fixed. The adoption of the EVM by Kaduna State is an indication that Nigeria should see the value of electronic voting in future elections. Governor El-rufai has shown that it is possible to try new options and possibilities as no society is static. And Kudos to Binta Saratu Dikko Audu and her team.