By Ikenna Asomba
Ex-Kenyan lawmaker, who represented the Taita Taveta Women and also contested the Senate elections, Hon. Joyce Wanjala Lay, Friday, described as false, claim by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that the photos and videos of under-age voters which went viral since February 11, 2018, were from Kenya.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had on February 22, 2018, disclosed that the Commission, had set up a 9-man fact-finding team to probe the alleged underage voting in the last Kano Council poll, promising to make its report public in two weeks.
Members of the INEC fact-finding panel included: Abubarkar Nahuche (chairman), May Agbamuche-Nbu, Mike Igini, Kassim Geidan, Yakubu Duku, Rukayat Bunmi, Paul Omokore, and Jude Chikezie (secretary).
But barely nine days after, INEC cleared itself or the Kano Independent Electoral Commission, KANSIEC, of any wrong doing in the February 10, 2018, Council polls held across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state.
While speaking to Journalists on Friday, March 2, 2018, the Chairman of the committee, Abubakar Nahuce, said, from his team’s interaction with civil society organisations and media, no evidence of underage voting has emerged.
Nahuce said: “From all what we have seen and discussed with you media men, none of you has seen any underage voter in the line or voting.
“All what we saw were from social media and they are not verifiable… some of them (pictures and videos) are not even from Nigeria, some are from Kenya elections but people are attributing them to Nigeria.”
But reacting however, Nairobian lawmaker, Joyce Lay said Kenya has no record of under-age voters, but said similar photo of under-age voters made the round during Kenya’s last general elections in October 2017.
Lay, however, clarified that that photo was later discovered to be some Kenyan children asked to demonstrate during voters education on how to cast a ballot before the polls.
Recall that in Kenya, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), is responsible for the conduct of all elections.
Asked if Kenya has any record of under-age voters during her last general election or in the past, Lay said: “No we didn’t have. We had a similar photo making rounds during our voting period but it’s not the same faces I’m seeing here and information was that the children were asked to demonstrate during voters education on how to cast a ballot.”
Still pressing further to authenticate if her claims could be taken to the banks, Diplomatic Watch sent her some photos and links of stories for her perusal and she replied: “I will look for the photo and send it to you so that you can compare.”
Some minutes later, Lay said, “No, we didn’t have under-age voters. What we had was only demonstration of voters education. It was a voters education and they were demonstrating how the process is done. We didn’t have any case of children voting during the main general elections.”
Earlier, Mohammed Garba, Kano State commissioner for information, had blamed INEC, saying the images were taken during the 2015 general election.