-INEC plans to engage the services of 1 million adhoc staff for the 2019 general elections.
-The INEC chairman attributed the challenges experienced with card readers during the 2015 elections to inadequate training for those who handled them.
-He also advised Nigerians to take advantage of the continuous voter registration on going in various centers across the nation.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday, disclosed the commission will employ at least one million adhoc staff for various functions during the 2019 general elections in the country.
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, made the disclosure during an interactive session with the Senate committee on Electoral Matters.
Yakubu said the figure will be about 300,000 higher than what INEC used for the 2015 elections in order to avert the shortage of manpower at the polling units across the country.
He said, “The projected increase in the number of ad hoc (members of ) staff to be engaged in the elections by the commission arose from the need to make provisions for adequate manpower for the exercise on a general template and, specifically, to take care of peculiar needs for that purpose in some polling units across the federation.”
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He also spoke on the issue of smart card readers which caused a lot of controversy during the 2015 elections.
Professor Yakubu said: “Nobody can assure you that smart cards will perform 100 per cent. There are places where we achieved up to 90 per cent. There are places where we had difficulties. It boils down to training of staff. The reason why we had challenges in 2015 was because of lack of training for our staff.
“In some of the most recent elections we have had, smart card readers have not posed serious challenges. We are improving on that. We will continue to do so. We are working seriously on improving on smart card readers so that we can cancel elections results from the office.
“We are going to deploy specific machines to specific communities. We will continue to address the challenges as they arise.
“The registration will continue until 60 days to elections. INEC took the decision that all our offices will be taken out of government buildings to our places or houses rented. It also applies to residential houses. There were cases when state governments rented apartments for our staff. As of today, we have not succeeded. But we will get there.”
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“Before 2019, we will try and see how we can move our offices out of government buildings. I want to assure you that we will achieve this before the conduct of the 2019 general elections.”
“Those who have no business with election conduct should be at polling units. This includes security agencies. The law is clear on that.
“We have engaged over 23,000 staff in Anambra. In 2015, INEC engaged 750,000 adhoc staff. Even if we engage up to one million adhoc staff in 2019, we will be prepared for it. In 2019, we may hire up to one million.
“Out of the 80 elections nullified in 2015, none was nullified because of unlawful omission. The law is clear on that. We have considerably reduced that problem in the commission,” he added.