INEC to employ 360,000 ad hoc workers

Independent National Electoral Commission is to employ  least 360,000 ad hoc workers, comprising
mostly National Youth Service Corps members,  for the forthcoming voter registration.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, who disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent on Saturday, said the voter registration would take place between late October and early November.

Idowu disclosed this as President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday said that the commission had been given the wherewithal for the conduct of 2011 elections.

When asked the date for the release of the timetable, Idowu replied, “Soon.”

In a text-message response to enquiries by our correspondent, he explained that three ad hoc workers would man each of the 120,000 polling booths in the country.

According to him, the training of the ad hoc workers will hold in September.

He said, ”360,000 ad hoc staff (mostly corps members) will be engaged for voter registration; three per centre. Training is projected to hold between early to mid-September and voter registration will hold between late October to early November.”

Idowu recalled that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had at a meeting with party leaders in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the timelines for the poll had been missed by two weeks.

Jonathan had on Friday signed the 2010 Electoral Bill passed by the National Assembly. But before the signing of the bill, Jega had lamented that INEC was working behind schedule.

He had explained that the import of the amendments to the new Electoral Act was that ”elections to political offices will hold not earlier than 150 days and not later than 120 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of that office.”

The INEC chairman added that, “By implication, the 2011 elections must hold between December 30th 2010 and January 29th 2011 and the Electoral Act had to be amended to bring it in line with these Constitutional changes.”

Jonathan, in a comment he posted on his twitter blog, said that his signing of the 2010 Electoral Bill on Friday had revved up the country’s electoral process.

He said that the Federal Government also authorised the release of N87.9bn to the Independent National Electoral Commission to enable it compile a new voter register and pay hazard and other allowances ahead of the 2011 general elections.

The President said with the release of the money, he believed that INEC had been fully “armed” to carry out its constitutional duties.

The comment reads, “It has always been the intention of this administration to focus attention on a few good things and to do them well, rather than take up many challenges and spread our energies too thin.

“Thus, I focused attention on electoral reforms this week and you may perhaps be aware that in addition to signing the Electoral Bill yesterday, the Federal Government also authorised the release of required resources to INEC to carry out its constitutional duties.

“I believe that with these, INEC is getting fully armed and we are well on the way to progress in electoral reform.”

He said that his administration would this week focus on ways of improving the nation’s energy sector.

According to him, a road-map to the power sector reforms will be unveiled before Saturday.

The road map, according to him, will include salient recommendations made by those who posted comments on the blog.

He said, “Power affects all of us so whistleblowers are encouraged to speak up if things are not done the proper way,” he wrote on the blog.

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