The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said preparations for the upcoming elections in Edo and Ondo states will involve the recruitment of 38,887 ad-hoc staffs for the two elections.
The Commission expressed that the ad-hoc staff to be recruited will respectively work as returning officers, Local Government Area Collation Officers, Supervisory Presiding officers, Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers (1,2,3), Registration Area Collation Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers ( voting points), Constituency Supervisors, LGA Supervisors, Governorship Constituency Supervisors and Reserves.
The INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman for Information and Voters Education Committee, Festus Okoye, revealed that due to the Coronavirus Pandemic the Commission is looking to use non contact and the use of electronic for it’s upcoming recruitment exercise.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at a press briefing at the INEC headquarters in Abuja, said that, the Commission had set September 19 for the governorship election in Edo state and October 10 for governorship election in Ondo state earlier on February 5.
He as well released the upcoming events for Edo and Ondo elections, which include dates for primary elections and the commencement of rallies and campaigns.
However, Mr. Okoye disclosed that as part of the Commission’s preparations, they will as well have to redesign the polling units in response to covid19, which had infected 8,915 people all over the country, out of which 2,592 had been discharged and 259 people had died from the virus.
Mr. Okoye disclosed that the recruitment process will soon begin as soon as the modalities for the recruitment of ad-hoc staff were worked out.
He noted that, Edo state has a total of 2,627 polling units, 192 registration areas and 4,519 voting points. Edo consists of 18 local government areas with the total number of registered voters of 2,210,535.
While on the other hand, Ondo state has 3,933 voting points, 3,009 polling units and 203 registration areas. Ondo also has 18 local government areas with the total voting population of 1,822,346.
The National Commissioner said that they were engaging with Edo and Ondo state offices as well as NYSC for the process of recruiting ad-hoc staff for the elections.
He added that majority of the staff that will work as Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers will be recruited from the NYSC and Federal tertiary institutions.
He also said shortages are sometimes gotten from state tertiary institutions from state that are contiguous.
Mr Okoye said since all tertiary institutions are closed and youth corp members have been asked to stay at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Commission will be working with branches in those states where governorship elections, senatorial and state house of assembly bye elections will hold in order to workout the process for recruitment.
Mr. Okoye also said the Ondo and Edo governorship elections as well as pending senatorial and state assembly bye elections will be conducted with the use of electronic and non contact means for recruitment and will use it’s INEC press portal for this purpose.
He also said they presently have a robust INEC database of past ad-hoc staff who will be invited and they will be posted to thier place of assignment electronically.
He said that the commission is at the moment working with Resident Electoral Commissioners, political parties, civil society groups and organisations as well as media outlets. It is also working to review its regulations, guidelines, manuals and the Voter Code of Conduct.
He also mentioned that hand sanitisers and other protective equipment will be made available within every polling units.
Also, he pointed out that they are working tirelessly to procure sufficient election materials and they looking at making more funds available for the state elections because change has been made to the previous budget for the elections due to covid19
However, he said that the Commission’s finance department was on top of the situation and hoped that things will go as planned when the elections is set to commence.