Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has commended the smooth conduct of Saturday’s elections, saying the introduction of Biomodal Voter Accreditation System by the Independent National Electoral Commission is a great achievement to the process.
According to Guardian, the minister made this know on Saturday, immediately after voting at Sirika Ward, Polling Unit 004 located at Dubawa Gari Primary Tank in Dutsi Local Government Area of Katsina State.
Sirika, while speaking on the cash crunch and fuel scarcity that recently induced protest nationwide, he claims that the recent Central Bank of Nigeria cashless policy and the fuel crisis would have no impact on the outcome of the elections.
He said that the INEC use of BVAS in the election process was a wise decision that put an end to the previously electoral malpractices that blighted elections in the past.
“I am very excited and I am very happy. I’m very glad and I thank technology, that the voting is so smooth, peaceful and without rancour. This is a departure from what we experienced in 2003, 2007 and 2011.”
The Minister of Aviation recalled an instance where, in his words, “ballot stuffing in the boxes, snatching of the boxes themselves, thuggery and beating up and scaring and intimidating voters” were common practices in election voting.
“We are here within our people, peacefully exercising our rights, as you have witnessed, with no rancour whatsoever. And it’s so smooth and efficient, and the process happens within minutes. I came here within six and a half minutes. From the time I greeted everybody to the time I was in the queue, to the confirmation by the BVAS all the way to the ballot paper and thumb-printing and coming out is an exercise that took me less than six and half minutes.
“So, yes it is very smooth and yes it is very efficient. Yes, we see the development of democracy. In 2007 I was a candidate for the Senate. Even before collation started they had announced the winner, which was not me. It was the candidate of the other party, the PDP at that time. He was announced as a winner even before the collation.
“Today it is not possible. Today your vote will be counted and it will count.”
While urging Nigerian to be optimistic and hopeful, he said the “candidate and the party we chose will emerge, by the grace of God, as victorious.”
He disclaimed the opinion that the cash crisis and fuel issues in the country will mar the outcome of the elections.
He said, “human beings have no price. Voters have no price. He who volunteers to serve you is more than he who you paid money to serve you. These people understand their rights, they understand their purpose of being here, to exercise their fundamental rights which they are doing with no rancour.
Nobody was paid a dime to come here, and this polling unit is packed full. Therefore, the issue of cashless policy affects elections, some people are just trying to hide their weaknesses and their failure to be able to serve the people well. People have been here long before, they understand the effect of governance. They understand why they should vote. Noble men and women are coming to vote for this election.
“Therefore I think it is wrong and a misnomer for people to continue to peddle that cashless policy is affecting the election, how? You have seen for yourselves here.”