James Azania, Lokoja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to train 16,139 ad-hoc staff and create 3,508 polling g points across the 21 local government areas of Kogi State, ahead of the November 16 governorship election in the state.
The National Commissioner/Chairman, Information and Education Committee, INEC headquarters, Mr. Festus Okoye disclosed these, on Tuesday, during the “INEC Campus Outreach Youths Votes Count,” held at the Federal College of Education Okene, Kogi State.
The programme which was sponsored by the INEC in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), aims at sensitising the youth on the importance of a violence free election and the important role they play in the country’s entire process.
Okoye further disclosed that while non-sensitive materials for the Kogi governorship poll were already on the ground, the sensitive materials for the exercise will arrive the state two weeks before the exercise, in readiness for voting in the 2,548 polling units.
The INEC National Commissioner admonished the youth to take the ‘bull by the horn,’ and not allow their ‘tomorrow’ to be hijacked by those that do not factor them into the scheme of things.
He admonished them on the need to get more positively involved in the country’s electoral system, rather than being used as political thugs and ballot box snatchers, by those he described as mindless politicians.
According to him: “We are here because we recognise that the students (youth) of this institution have the capacity to deliver on the needs of the electoral process, and that is why we are here, having in mind the governorship election in Kogi State.
“We have 2,548 polling units in the state, and we are also going to create 3,508 polling points. There are 1,646,350 total number of registered voters (in Kogi State), but not all registered voters collected their permanent voters card (PVC).
“INEC is to train 16,139 ad-hoc staff (between October 24-26), including collation officers(COs), returning officers (ROs) and other categories of ad-hoc staff.
“I need to make it clear that we are going to provide all the materials to be used for the election; all non sensitive materials for the Kogi governorship election are on the ground and two weeks to the election, all the sensitive materials will be on the ground.
“We are going to train you for the election, and such training is not transferable to another. Our contract with you is that, go and conduct this election, and we are going to remunerate you. All that is now required is your untmost patriotism.
“If we have 61 percent of voters in this country as youths, and they do not participate in the process, that is something else.
“There is no voting on Twitter or on Facebook, and you should therefore not leave your future in the hands of people who believe that the country is theirs as of a right. 240 million people voted in the last edition of BBNaija, which is more than the number that ever voted in all elections in Nigeria, and they pay to do so. Yet, you are paid N10,000 to forget forget your civic responsibility and as payment to become thugs during elections.”