• Friday, June 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Ondo 2020: INEC to deploy 17,000 ad-hoc staff

INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday revealed that 17,000 ad- hoc staff would be engaged for the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State. The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voters Education Committee, Festus Okoye made the disclosure in Akure at a workshop organised for journalists in the state on election processes and procedures in line with Covid-19 protocols.

According to Okoye, the commission is fully ready to conduct Edo and Ondo states governorship election peacefully without going back despite Covid-19 pandemic.

“The global pandemic has led to the acceleration in the use and application of technology in the electoral process. Prior to the pandemic, the commission maintained an electronic voter register and carried out electronic verification and accreditation of voters using the Smart Card Reader.

“With the pandemic, the commission has introduced additional measures and innovations aimed at improving the transparency of the electoral process especially in collation and transmission of election result,” Okoye said.

According to him, “All protocols issued by the NCDC, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, State Committees on Covid-19 and other relevant health authorities shall be observed by election officials and all stakeholders.”

“There shall be a two-tier queuing system at the polling unit one outside and the other in the voting area. Voters will be brought into the voting area periodically to prevent overcrowding. Tags and twines may be used to ensure crowd control and maintenance of social distance,” he said.

Contrary to speculations that National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) members would no longer be used for elections, Okoye said 15,000 corps members would be deployed as polling officers out of the 17,000 ad-hoc staff.

The other 2,000 ad-hoc staff, according to him, would be drafted from civil service and senior officers of tertiary institutions of the country as collation and presiding officers.

Okoye, who posited that the conduct of Ondo gubernatorial election became imperative to pave way for new government, avoid constitutional crisis and executive vacuum, said by constitution, the incumbent governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his deputy Agboola Ajayi must leave office by 24th of February, 2021.

“In compliance with section 178(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) the commission could not shift or postpone the tenure. Based on this the commission moved fast in a proactive manner and designed policies and programmes that ensured the continuity of electoral activities even in the midst of the uncertainty caused by Covid-19,” he said.