The immediate-past National Youth Service Corps personnel will be the electoral officers during the rescheduled 2015 general elections from March 28 to April 11, Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, has disclosed.
Idowu said in an interview that though the Corpers are no longer under the NYSC INEC remained disposed to engaging them owing to the election training they underwent before passing out.
“The NYSC had earlier “kept these people in camps because of the elections. But now that there is a shift, there is no basis for you to keep on holding them in camps.
“Yes, they kept them in camp for INEC because of the elections and when elections are rescheduled, you can’t hold them in camps for six week.
“The corps members themselves, as many as have been trained and are available to take up the job for which they have been trained, they would still be there. Those that were trained and have passed out, as many as they are there, they would still be engaged. They have been trained for the job.”
Idowu did not think there was any security implication to using corpers who are no longer in service: “They are the same people who were recently in the NYSC. The only difference is that because of the time of the rescheduling, they are no longer in the camps of the NYSC.”
He made the disclosure after confirming a meeting of representatives of the nation’s security agencies on Monday met with the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, over preparations for the rescheduled general elections.
The meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security reviewed the security situations in the North-East following recent successes recorded by the military against Boko Haram insurgents, and stressed the need for “a strong military presence, especially in the North-East.
The military which had recently librated many communities, in the North-East, including Baga and Mubi, from Boko Haram, and the other “security agencies argued in favour of deployment of the military for the elections.”
Said a senior security official at the meeting: “They said the recent threat by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, should not be taken lightly.
“Besides, there have been suicide bombings in Yobe and only the presence of soldiers can allay fears of voters. Even residents of Maiduguri, Borno State, have been applauding the latest development. How do you tell soldiers to leave during elections.”
However, the legality of deploying soldiers for the elections has pitted the All Progressives Congress against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
PDP Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, had last Thursday hinted that President Goodluck Jonathan would deploy soldiers during the elections, but the APC insisted that two courts had barred the military from being part of the exercise.
The possibility of government assisting displaced persons to return to their towns so that they could be a part of the elections was also discussed at the meeting.
INEC had on February 7, shifted the general elections from February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11.
Its chairman said the postponement followed reports by the National Security Adviser and the service chiefs that their agencies would not be able to guarantee security of INEC personnel in some parts of the country.