Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have begun to put measures on ground to ensure adequate security for the Youth Corps members who would work as ad hoc staff during the 2015 general elections.
Chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega, said this yesterday when he led a delegation of some National Commissioners of INEC, to pay a courtesy call on the new Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Johnson Olawumi.
He said both agencies have commenced arrangements to strengthen their existing bilateral committee to ensure adequate security of Corps members participating in the elections.
Speaking on ways of strengthening the existing bilateral relationship between the two bodies, Jega said that the Commission would keep on identifying challenges facing Corps members on election duty with a view to finding solutions on how best to secure them to effectively discharge their responsibilities to their country.
While he recalled the excellent role played by Corps members in the Voter Registration and General Elections of 2011, he regretted the unfortunate incident that resulted in the death of some members,
saying the sad incident had forced the Commission to ensure greater security for Corps members in future.
“That incident has challenged us to ensure that as we prepare for 2015 elections and get NYSC involved, we should increase security of Corps members, and minimize their suffering”, Jega said.
Meanwhile, he commended the new Director-General for approving the use of NYSC members in the discharge of the Commission’s major activities.
He said given this approval, the corps members would be deployed for the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in Ekiti and Osun States.
In his response, the NYSC Director Genaral, Johnson Olawumi, commended the Chairman of INEC for the successful conduct of previous elections, noting that the conduct of elections in Nigeria has continued to
improve in the past years.
He thanked the INEC Chairman for the support the Commission has been giving to the scheme, especially the collaboration with NYSC in the conduct of elections.
Olawumi said that he has looked at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between INEC/NYSC and found out that it is very robust, but noted some challenges which should be addressed.
Based on this, he said the Bilateral Committee would meet to find ways of mitigating the challenges, including safety of Corps members, their transportation and other logistics.
He expressed commitment to working with the Commission and pledged the scheme’s support to the existing MoU between NYSC/INEC, saying “I look forward to their involvement in Ekiti and Osun States’ Governorship elections this year and the big one in 2015”.
Olawumi also assured that the scheme would continue to do its best in the area of advocacy and to sensitize not just the NYSC but the general public that NYSC members are not INEC staff but were on national service, contributing to a clarion call.