With exactly 4,975,701 registered voters, Kano state is a huge political force but concerns have been raised over the high incidence of underage voting in the state. To tackle the menace, INEC has set up a panel to purge the register of underage voters.
The eight-member committee is headed by a National Commissioner, Abubakar Nahuche. The commission however says the exercise will not be completely efficient because many of the underage voters look like adults and records are not available to confirm their age. The Chairman of Kano SIEC, Prof. Garba Sheka disclosed that members of the INEC committee would visit his office on Monday 26 February to begin the age verification process. He stated,
“INEC officials will come on Monday. When the committee arrives, we will give them the register. They gave us soft copies and we will give them back the soft copies given to us. We will also give them hard copies we produced. They have a lot of work. They will go through it and sort out the children; if there are any, they will remove them.”
Sheka, however, maintained that children did not vote in the recently concluded local government election in which the All Progressives Congress cleared the 44 chairmanship seats in the local government areas. He accused the PDP and the Kwankwasiya faction of the APC headed by former Kano state governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of fabricating reports of underage voting.
“We are reviewing the pictures with our software. Most of the pictures were 2015 election pictures. It is more or less like blackmail but we expected such because before the election started, the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) members opted out and they are the major opposition party that could have won something if they had contested.
There was the Kwankwasiya faction of the APC, which was not allowed to contest. So, they will definitely want to discredit the exercise. At least, 85 per cent of all the pictures we reviewed on the child voter issue were 2015 election pictures. Today, a child of 15 could look close to 30 especially if they are tall. In Nigeria, we have a problem with detecting age since we don’t have records. So, those who look very young are the only ones that can be detected.”