The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ondo State, Ambassador (Dr.) Rufus Oloruntoyin Akeju has asserted that corps members serving in all the states of the federation remained the core ad-hoc personnel the Commission relied on to prosecute elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner made the assertion during a courtesy call on the State Coordinator, Mrs. Victoria Nnenna Ani at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Ikare-Akoko.
Ambassador Akeju who was represented by the Administrative Secretary for the Commission in Ondo State, Mr. Oyekola Oyelami confirmed that corps members play key and significant roles as far as electioneering is concerned in Nigeria.
“The Coordinator of the noble Scheme in the Sunshine State, we have come to appreciate NYSC for releasing to us corps members to participate in our programmes in line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Commission and NYSC.
“Involvement of these patriotic and committed corps members in elections has enhanced the corporate image of the Commission and restored the confidence of electorates in the process because lots of transparency and neutrality are achieved. The international community has also attested to the fact that corps members’ role in conducting free, fair and credible elections is sacrosanct”.
He said that his team visited the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp to sensitise the corps members on the forthcoming general elections in February 2023 and to guide them on the steps to take if they are willing to participate in the said elections.
“During the forthcoming general elections, the corps members that are recruited by the Commission would serve as Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers and we are here to let them know about the registration procedure which must be done online. It is when NYSC cannot supply the required number of corps members that we consider other interested people in the society” he explained.
The Administrative Secretary who served in the old Ondo State comprising the present Ondo and Ekiti states and had his orientation course at Efon Alaaye before been posted to Ogotun High School in the present Ekiti South West Local Government made an appeal to NYSC to incorporate INEC activity into the Community Development Service weekly group meetings.
“We want to make an appeal to the NYSC Secretariat to direct NYSC Local Government Inspectors in the state to incorporate INEC Local Government Training Officers into their time table during CDS weekly meetings so that they can start training them as we all know that three days route training in the Commission’s calendar is hardly enough to do a thorough and comprehensive training”.
Responding, the State Coordinator, Mrs. Victoria Nnenna Ani appreciated the Commission for sending a powerful delegation led by the Administrative Secretary to visit the camp despite their crowded schedules considering the activities of INEC between now and the next general elections.
The State Coordinator while welcoming the delegation to her residence within the camp disclosed that NYSC and INEC has been partners in progress, and hoped that the Commission staff will see NYSC staff as their brothers and sisters, work harmoniously in line with the rules of engagement to achieve the objectives enumerated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed.
Mrs. Ani said that even though, the Commission has not waiver in her commitment to corps members’ welfare and security going by its antecedents, she appealed to the Commission to provide water tight security for those that would be engaged as well as prompt payment of their allowance and other entitlement.
“I want to thank the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ambassador (Dr.) Rufus Oloruntoyin Akeju and his formidable team for not wavering in their support towards these dedicated and selfless Nigerians. Delay in payment of allowance has always been a nagging and recurrent issue but INEC has always rose to the occasion with the prompt payment. Please, let us continue in this path”.
“Equally, I want to make passionate appeal to the Commission to factor in other categories of NYSC staff apart from the Local and Zonal Inspectors who will be performing other supervisory and complementary roles but are not captured in the renumeration schedule of INEC”.
She continued, ‘NYSC has a dynamic system when it comes to engaging corps members for any national assignment and because of the value we place on these set of people, top management staff and very senior officers are deployed to monitor them in all the Local Governments and ensure that their lives is not in any way threatened or the assignment jeopardised”.
While admonishing the team to give level playing ground for all corps members and not substitute the qualified ones with other names as was previously alleged, the NYSC Ondo State boss promised to continue to provide the needed support to the Commission, and also look at their request to commence preliminary training in earnest at the Local Government level.