*INEC to deploy one million adhoc staff for 2019 elections.
*Current strike by the Academic Staff Union, ASUU, may adversely affect the 2019 if not called off soon
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has described the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU strike, as imminent danger to the 2019 general elections, as over seventy (70) percent of the ad-hoc staff are drawn from Federal Tertiary Institutions.
Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee and INEC National Commissioner Barr. Festus Okoye, made this known during a one day seminar on; Media and Gender Sensitive Reporting of Elections held in Abuja, yesterday.
He posited that for the 2019 elections, the commission recruit and deploy over one million ad-hoc staff made up of lecturers from Federal Tertiary institutions in Nigeria, members of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC and students of Federal Tertiary Institutions, and these categories of ad-hoc will serve as Returning Officers, Collation Officers, Supervisory Presiding Officers, Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers.
Speaking further, Barr. Okoye said; Since it is near impossibility for members of the NYSC to provide all ad-hoc staff needs and requirements of the Commission and over 70 percent of the ad-hoc staff requirement in some states of the federation are drawn from students of Federal Tertiary Institutions. “Hence, the lingering strike by ASUU will no doubt have serious impact on the preparations for the conduct of the 2019 elections.
“We therefore call on ASUU and federal government to quickly genuinely resolve the lingering impasse that has led to uncertainty in the education sector. The national interest, the interest of our democracy and the reputation of Nigeria demands the immediate resolution that led to the strike and we so urge,” he added.
In his own opening remarks, National Commissioner INEC Outreach and Partnership Committee, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola said the seminar will provide a forum for brainstorming on new ways of using the media to promote gender equality in the electoral process.
According to him, promotion of women’s participation in politics – as Voters, Candidates, Politicians, Civil Society Activists, and in other roles is important because it allows women to exercise their fundamental human rights.
“It is also important because it allows countries to draw on the full range of human resources available to it to progress; while helping to ensure that women’s and girl’s needs are adequately met in policy-making processes,” he stated.
Representative of United Nations Women, Mr Lansana Wonneh, urged the media to do more, as they are not only strong stakeholders in ensuring free, fair and credible elections, but also major stakeholders at ensuring inclusivity by carrying the members of the public along.
According to him; “Nigeria leads Africa in everything except women participation in governance which Rwanda is leading in Africa.
“The media is an important stakeholder to change the dynamics of women participation in governance in Nigeria. It is for this reason we have been working with INEC to ensure inclusivity, so as to ensure women participate adequately in governance in Nigeria.”