The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu has declared that 1million ad-hoc staff would be recruited by the Commission for conduct of the 2019 general elections.
The INEC boss who made the declaration at an interactive session with Senate Committee on INEC on Wednesday, assured Nigerians that the main electronic device for the election – the smart card readers – will function effectively as users would be adequately trained on its usuage before the election.
According to him, the 1 million targeted ad-hoc staff for the election would be about 300 higher than the over 700 ad-hoc staff engaged for the 2015 general elections.
“The projected increase in the number of ad- hoc staff to be engaged in the elections by the Commission arose from the need to make provisions for adequate manpower for the exercise on a general template and specifically to take care of peculiar needs for that purpose in some polling units across the federation,” he said.
On the Smart Card Readers which caused a lot of controversies during the conduct of the 2015 general elections due to malfunctioning, Yakubu said such controversies cannot arise in the forthcoming 2019 elections based on plans for adequate training already provided for those to be saddled with responsibility of using the device during the election.
“Controversies and challenges raised on the Smart Card Readers in the 2015 elections to us in INEC were over magnified because the problem was not technological on the part of the device but attitudinal on the part of the users due to lack of adequate training.
“Thus, because the problem is more of attitude than technological defects, solid steps are being taken by the commission to bring about robust interface between the machine and those to use them in terms of practical trainings before the elections “, he explained.
He added that the conduct of the comming Gubernatorial elections in Anambra State next month and those of Ekiti and Osun States next year by the commission, will show Nigerians how prepared it is for the 2019 general elections.
He disclosed that the commission is also planning on how to make the five categories of disfranchised Nigerians participate in the 2019 general elections.
The five categories according to him, are the 16,000 INEC staff, members of the civil society organisations who serve as election monitors and observers, the media, Security personnel and Prison inmates.
In his remarks, the Senate Committee Chairman on INEC, Suleiman Nazif said the interactive session would be a continuous exercise between the committee and INEC ahead of the 2019 general elections.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja