Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has disclosed that 24,930 ad-hoc staff will participate in the March 19 National and State Assembly rerun election in Rivers state.
Yakubu in a joint briefing with the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, on Wednesday in Abuja, he said the ad hoc staff are drawn from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and students of the University of Port Harcourt, the Federal College of Education (Technical) at Omoku and the Federal University in Otuoke in Bayeisa State.
Also, youth corps members will serve as Presiding Officers while others will serve as Assistant Presiding Officers I, II and III. In addition, explaining that “we have engaged a total 379 Collation Officers and 37 Returning Officers from the 3 tertiary institutions mentioned earlier on the recommendations of their Vice Chancellors and Provost who vouched for their integrity.
“The list was forwarded to us here at the Headquarters where we conducted due diligence check on all the nominees before they were cleared for Election Duty. Let me assure all Nigerians that IN EC will never recruit Election Duty personnel in a partisan manner.”
Speaking further, the INEC boss said; “None of the Electoral Officers (EOs) currently posted as Heads of our Local Government offices in Rivers State will participate in the election. Instead, they will be confined to the INEC Headquarters in Port Harcourt where no Election Day activity is taking place. We have drawn the E05 from 15 States of the Federation and the INEC HQs who shall return to their duty posts at the conclusion of the Election. Similarly, the HoD (Operations) and the Administrative Secretary have been redeployed from other States.”
According to him, accreditation and voting will take place simultaneously from 8.00am to 2.00pm while the collation of results at the Polling Units will commence in earnest as soon the last person on the queue has voted.
“In order to enhance the overall supervision of the Elections, IN EC is deploying 3 National Commissioners and 6 Resident Electoral Commissioners for Election Duty in Rivers State. They are to assist the new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) deployed a few weeks ago.
“In addition to these arrangements, lNEC has accredited 13 groups, including the British High Commission and the US Embassy for Election Observation on their own request.”
On security, Yakubu stressed that the Nigeria Police Force, as the lead agency in election security, has adequately deployed for the Saturday Election, and assured that “all personnel involved in the election have been warned against compromising the processes and procedures in any way whatsoever and violators will be severely sanctioned.”