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Bayelsa, Kogi guber polls: INEC reviews ad-hoc staff engagement

Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun a review of the recruitment, training, and deployment of ad-hoc staff ahead of the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa and Kogi States Governorship elections.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman gave this indication Friday in his address at the Electoral Institute Policy dialogue on: “Dynamics of Delegation: Reforms in the Recruitment, Training, and Deployment of Ad-hoc Election Personnel” in Abuja.

Yakubu said reform in the delegation of responsibilities by INEC to the ad-hoc election personnel was an exercise the Commission continues to review from one election to another.

He stated that the policy dialogue could not have come at a better time than now when INEC had just concluded the 2019 General Elections, and Bayelsa and Kogi State governorship elections coming up in November this year.

According to the Chairman, crucial to a successful free, fair and credible election were the recruitment, training, and deployment of Ad-hoc Staff, mostly National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, students of tertiary institutions, and lecturers in the Nigerian universities.

Yakubu observed that with the vastness and large population of Nigeria, INEC really needed the services of ad-hoc election personnel in the conduct of credible elections, and so qualified personnel have to be sourced, recruited, trained and deployed for better elections.

“This is due to the central and strategic role they have been playing in the conduct of election in Nigeria. As an Election Management Body (EMB), the Commission is committed not only to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, but also Elections that will be acceptable to Nigerians and the international community.

“The Commission welcomes views, suggestions, and way forward in the area of reforms in the recruitment, training, and deployment of ad-hoc personnel. The Commission attached importance and value to feedback from the grassroots. This is in tandem with its commitment to free, fair and credible elections”, he noted.

Earlier, Solomon Soyebi, Chairman of Board of Electoral Institute in his opening remarks explained that policy dialogues serve as a platform for electoral stakeholders to discuss salient issues that are tangential to the achievement of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

Soyebi noted that the process of engaging the ad-hoc election personnel for any election and delegating responsibility to them is hugely painstaking; hence the Institute is mandated to conduct elaborate training series that is in tandem with the international best practices for all ad-hoc personnel

He stressed that the Commission placed a very high premium on this dialogue, more so that the Bayelsa and Kogi States’ Governorship Elections are coming up in November this year.

“The critical and sensitive roles they play during elections made it compulsory for the Commission to design a framework of engagement via a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Commission and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

“Equally, the Commission designed another framework that guides the use of the staff of tertiary institutions to serve as Collation/Returning officers.

The Commission realises that the quality of productivity and service delivery is dependent upon the quality of knowledge impacted on the trainees”, Soyebi said.