By James Kanyip
Greatness is not about achieving everything. It is about achieving something extraordinary, even if it is a single thing.
During his campaigns, Governor Nasir El Rufai promised the people of Kaduna State that he would conduct free and fair elections into the 23 Local Government Councils of the State within three (3) months of being sworn in as Governor. This is not the main issue here.
The good news is that the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KADSIECOM) has recently announced that elections into the Local Government Councils would hold on 12th of May, 2018.
This means that the elections will now hold three (3) years, not three (3) months, after El Rufai was sworn in as Governor despite an earlier High Court judgment of 15th December, 2016 ordering him and KADSIECOM to conduct the elections after ninety (90) days. This, too, is not the main issue here.
The main issue is that Governor El Rufai gave two (2) reasons for the delay in conducting the elections as he promised.
The first is that he said he would review the Law regulating the system and administration of Local Government Councils in the State.
The second is that he promised to conduct free and fair Local Government Councils elections by using Kaduna State as the pilot and pioneer State in Nigeria to adopt the electronic voting system.
In fairness to him, he has fulfilled these two (2) promises.
On his first promise, he has reviewed the Kaduna State Local Government Administration Law by changing the system and administration from the presidential to the parliamentary. With this new Law, Local Government Councils shall be run by both the executive and legislative arms.
The executive arm is to be headed by the Executive Chairman and his four (4) Supervisors to be appointed by him. The legislative arm shall be run by the elected Councillors and headed by a Speaker to be elected by the Councillors amongst themselves.
On his second promise, the elections shall now be conducted using the electronic voting machines (EVMs). If this is done, Kaduna State will be the first ever to conduct elections in this manner in Nigeria.
The essence of using the EVMs is to ensure elections into the Local Government Councils are free and fair; and to also ensure that rigging in whatever guise is reduced to zero level. The devise will do away with ballot stuffing and multiple thumping of ballot papers.
Some of the key features of the EVMs are: it authorises single vote; it prints the receipt for the vote; it displays the results of the votes in each polling station; and it has a power failure protection device that stores the results of the elections even when there is power failure.
We are all witnesses to how State Governors ensure that all the elections into the Local Government Councils in their States are rigged 100% in favour of their political parties. Niger, Sokoto, Delta, Taraba States and recently Kano State are instances. Rigging in elections, not only in Local Government Councils, but in all elections in Nigeria, has become a normal thing and a pastime.
If the idea to use the EVMs to conduct free and fair elections into the Local Government Councils in the State is in good faith, well-intentioned and with sincerity of purpose, it is commendable and laudable. And, we must give it to the Governor.
As I said in the beginning, greatness is not about achieving everything; it is about achieving something extraordinary. Therefore, if, as promised by the Governor, KADSIECOM would conduct a free and fair elections into the Local Government Councils in the State on 12th of May, 2018 using the EVMs, the Governor would have succeeded in achieving something extraordinary, even if it were the only thing he would have done to the good people of Kaduna State.
By this singular extraordinary achievement, Governor Nasir El-Rufai would have succeeded in writing his name in the threshold of history as the first Governor in Nigeria to have conducted free and fair elections into Local Government Councils using the EVMs.
History is waiting to make a date with him. And, his fate will be decided on the 12th of May, 2018.