…Says No Perfect Election Anywhere in the World The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is 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. The Director General, The Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris
…Says No Perfect Election Anywhere in the World
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is 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.
The Director General, The Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris made this known in Abuja on Friday at the Policy Dialogue on “Dynamics of Delegation: Reforms In the Recruitment of Ad-hoc Election Personnel.”
He said: “We 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.”
According to him, the NYSC staff put the reputation of the Commission at stake whenever they are on election duty, stressing that obedience to INEC core values, code and conduct is very important.
He said the Commission has its core value that anybody working for it being him an ad hoc or permanent staff has to comply with adding that the need to train the ad hoc staff and expose them to the core value of the Commission has 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 whether there’s any mechanism where we can establish the issue of loyalty.
“Can we make them accountable for their actions? Is there any way we can put 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,” he said
The Commission, according to him, is also thinking about 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 mobilization and training of staff as part of the characteristics of the 2019 general elections.
In a related development, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that there is no election in democracies all over the world that is perfect. He said every democracy is work in progress which need fine-tuning at every given experience.
Yakubu said this in Abuja on Monday while addressing a Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee (PMSC), on the post 2019 election review meeting of INEC with Electoral Officers, (EOs) from 19 States. The chairman as well charged its Electoral Officers (EOs) to offer views and criticisms on the recent general election and urged them to feel free to advise the Commission.
Explaining that criticisms on the elections would help to improve the country’s electoral process, Yakubu said: “Please, feel free to advise the Commission. Where we need to be criticised or criticise ourselves, please do so. I consistently say that friends will criticise you, but your enemies will condemn you. But criticism is the basis to make any system work. No democracy, no electoral process is perfect. Every democracy is work-in-progress.”
“So, feel free to suggest, advice on all issues relating to conduct of elections, on the whole gamut. And, you have the protection of the chairman that whatever you say will not be held against you.”
He commended the electoral officers for their contributions by carrying out the mandates of the Commission which include the registration of voters, monitoring of political parties activities and conduct of elections.
“Preparation for general elections, movement of staff, opening of polling units, co-ordination of polling units activities on election days, reverse logistics, all these activities are heavily dependent on the works of electoral officers.
“Anything that anybody can say about the conduct of elections in Nigeria is secondary to the kind of information we are going to hear from those who truly conduct elections at levels that matter – the polling units,” the chairman stated.
In his remark, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee, Dr. Mustafa Lecky, said that the review was aimed at broadening and evaluating the conduct of the 2019 elections and help to learn vital lessons.
Lecky said that the review would also afford the Commission opportunity to review its policies and programmes during the last elections, which would serve as a roadmap to 2023 general election.
“This process is essentially a sort of SWOT analysis, involving identification of our strengths, performance, weaknesses or lapses, opportunities missed or taken. “This also includes impediments, bottlenecks and/or threats uncovered across all the processes before, during and the fallouts since the conduct of the 2019 general election. The Commission is aiming to be comprehensive in its attempts to review all the issues connected to the general elections.
“This is from preparation through execution and its aftermath, hence the review timetable and schedule of activities has provided for consultations at multi-levels,” Lecky said.
The Programme Coordinator, European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, Ms Maria Mauro, described electoral officers as one of the most important stakeholders in elections.
Mauro commended INEC for taking deep commitment to reviewing the 2019 general election, adding that the template the Commission was using for the review would offer great outcome for improving the electoral process in Nigeria.