Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said that it was planning to review its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on the rules regarding the engagement of corps members as electoral adhoc staff.
This was disclosed by the Director General, The Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris at a Policy Dialogue session, ‘Dynamics of Delegation: Reforms In the Recruitment of Ad-hoc Election Personnel’.
According to him, “We (INEC) are going to review the MoU with the NYSC to ensure that the members on election duties are loyal and can be held accountable and punished for their actions.”
He stated that NYSC staff will put the reputation of the commission at stake whenever they were on election duty, stressing that obedience to INEC core values, code and conduct was very important.
He said the commission had its core value that anybody working for it being an ad hoc or permanent staff had to comply with.
He said that the need to train the ad hoc staff and expose them to the core value of the commission had become expedient, for “them to do things the way INEC does its own things.”
Continuing, he said: “When they (corpers) are on the field they are INEC. Whatever the ad hoc staff does it is INEC. Are they loyal to the commission?
“We need to interrogate that. We really need to look into the MoU and see are there any mechanism where we can establish the issue of loyalty.
“Can we make them accountable for their actions? Is there any way we can have something in the MoU where we can ensure that they are loyal and when they go wrong the commission can punish them.
“There has to be something where we can hold them accountable to their own actions.”
The commission, he said was also mulling administrative measures of dealing with malfeasance, especially a mechanism for punishment such as denial of discharge certificate and a repeat of the service year.
Saa’d asked the panel: “Is there any way we can get NYSC to sanction them? Maybe in the MoU of getting the NYSC to extend the service year of that corper, that is a deterrent, for instance.
“We can find a way of getting NYSC to say you repeat your service year or consider you not to have served for that year because you are disgrace to NYSC and disgrace to Nigeria.”
He insisted on the need for reforms of the electoral policies for the improvement of the conduct of elections.
The Lead Speaker, Prof. Shola Omotola, had observed that the allowances for the ad hoc staff were grossly inadequate.
The don also cited the challenges of insecurity, late mobilisation and training of staff as part of the characteristics of the 2019 general elections.