Presidential Candidate of National Rescue Movement,Mr. Usman Ibrahim, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission, on the risk involved in the use of National Youth Service Corps members as ad hoc staff and Vice Chancellors as returning officers during elections.
Speaking in an interview monitored in Lagos recently, he said the lives of those people should not be put at risk.
According to him, “INEC should go back to what we know: civil servants and volunteers. Like in other countries it is volunteers. If you go to Australia, Britain and others it is volunteers who sincerely want to conduct elections that contribute their quota.”
He said the training of ad hoc staff shouldn’t be during election period only when election is near that INEC will train hoc staff.
His words,” The training information should be in the public domain. So that anyone who is interested can go to the commission’s website and see the rules of the game.
“Application for ad hoc staff should be done online. Interested volunteers can register their details and contribute their quota if picked by INEC to work as ad hoc staff.
Ibrahim, who maintained that it was the former INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega who introduced the idea of using vice chancellors as returning officers, adding that they shouldn’t be drag into politics.
“Initially Jega (former INEC chairman) brought this idea of Vice Chancellors but I have my reservations.
”Don’t drag our educational institutions into the hands of politicians. VCs are great people, VCs are people of integrity. But look at what is happening. They will corner a VC and ask him to announce the result that has never been done. And then the VC will be forced to announce result and when he gets home he finds it difficult to sleep.
“In 2015, there was a similar experience where they had to withdraw a result and re-present it for the VC to announce.
“The VCs should not be dragged into such. They are manipulating the VCs because they are in their(federal government) payroll and if they refuse to dance to their tune they will be removed.” He said.