Elections: Disquiet in INEC over recruitment ad hoc staff

THE hopes of Nigerians for their votes to count and a free and fair general election beginning from February 16, 2019,  may be dashed if the goings on in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are to go by.

Sunday Tribune learnt from credible sources in the commission that some powerful individuals are frustrating the efforts of INEC National Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to conduct a general election that conforms with acceptable global standards.

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According to Sunday Tribune sources, these powerful interests are big politicians in the corridors of power, but who have penetrated the commission, with many of its top hierarchy doing their bidding. They were said to be employing all forms of pressure on some of the commission’s top officials to ensure that they compromise on the election by giving their political party an undue advantage.

“These politicians want to hijack the recruitment and deployment of collation officers,” a source in the commission stated, adding that “this is already creating misgiving within the commission.”

The combination of these powerful politicians operating from outside and their allies working for them from inside, it was said, is creating issues that may affect the integrity and outcome of the elections.

The latest move by these forces, Sunday Tribune learnt, was the pressure being mounted to reverse an earlier decision taken to ensure that the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) directly take charge of recruitment of collation officers in their states to ensure probity.

The INEC leadership, it was gathered, as a result of the  pressure finally gave in by sending a counter directive that recruitment would now be done at the headquarters, fuelling suspicion that the cabals within the commission would fill the slots with their own people.

Some RECs, it was gathered, saw the move as a vote of no confidence in them by the headquarters, with some of them said to be wary of the fact that the move was to compromise the elections by some individuals inside their own commission.

At the commission’s meeting of Friday, December 21, 2018, on the recruitment of ad-hoc staff for the 2019 general election, a decision was taken that some cadres of staff would be handled at the state level.

The decision was confirmed in a December 21 memo from the INEC headquarters entitled:   “Decision Extract on the Recruitment of Ad-Hoc staff for the Conduct of the 2019 General Elections,” in which details of the cadre of ad hoc positions are listed in conformity with the Electoral Act.

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