The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Mr. Mahmood Yakubu, says the commission will continue to prioritize the security of corps members performing election-related duties.
Yakubu made this statement on Friday in Abuja while leading the executive team of the commission on a polite visit to Mrs. Christy Uba, the acting director-general of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
He characterized the function of corps members as being the most important throughout the election.
The chairman claims that the corps members perform their duties at the polling place, which is the only stage of an election where people really cast ballots.
Yakubu said, “So, for that reason, we will also extend insurance cover in case of injury or other emergencies to all corps members involved in election duty.
“Working with the security agencies, we will also extend protection and security to the youth corps members’ lodges when they are deployed to the field on election days.
“This is because we have had some unhappy experiences before, when some hoodlums raided the corps members’ lodges in some places, while they were on election duty.
“So, we will continue to take whatever step that is necessary to protect and guarantee the security and welfare of the corps members.”
The commission would continue to operate in accordance with the terms of the current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the commission and the NYSC, according to the chairman.
He also guaranteed that the ad hoc employees, the bulk of whom were members of the youth corps, would receive training and retraining in the use of election technology.
“They will be responsible for the management of the polling units, management of elections resources including sensitive materials, accreditation of voters, using the Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVRS) on election days.’’
Yakubu said that corps members are more involved immediately when the voting processes are over.
“They record the results on the result sheets.
“When all the party agents have signed, then, they will be responsible for snapping the result at that level, using the BVRS, and transmitting same in real time.’’
According to Yakubu, the commission is completely prepared for the upcoming general elections.
The chairman said that INEC would make sure that all supplies and personnel arrived on time at their designated locations, and that the polling stations would also open punctually.
In response, Uba stated that the NYSC was still ready to work with the commission, noting that significant progress had been made over time.
She claims that the corps members are thrilled about the next election since the youths are really interested in it and would make sure they work hard to make things right.
But she added that both the plan and the commission were required to fulfill their responsibilities.
“On preparation for the 2023 general elections, we have directed state coordinators to encourage corps members to register on the INEC portal, and I believe they have done that.
“Corps’ Welfare and Service Department is expected to visit states to assure corps members and staff of the commitment of INEC and NYSC, to their safety while on election duties.
“This is to further encourage them, given the situation we have found ourselves in. They need to be assured that their security is being taken care of.’’
In order to communicate with corps members who want to take part in the exercise, Uba stated that state coordinators had been instructed to compile the names and phone numbers of important security professionals in the states and local government regions.
She added that all state coordinators had been instructed to communicate with the DSS and other security organizations to determine the state’s crisis-prone locations.
According to her, the NYSC headquarters will be notified of such problematic regions for monitoring.
Uba claimed that the program had abandoned plans to hold the 2023 Batch A Stream One training in January because to the amount of corps members that INEC would need.
She claimed that by doing this, there would be more corps members available to take part in the process.
“We need to work in our present reality, there is the need to review the allowances paid to the corps members.
“The chairman should please look at the conditions and ensure some level of improvement as contained in the MoU,’’ Uba said.
The both organisations signed a review of the MoU in March 2022, in preparation for the general elections in February, 2023.