14th November, 2017
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu has urged staff members in Anambra state to ensure the success of both the governorship and Idemili North State constituency elections holding simultaneously on November 18.
Speaking at a meeting with the staff in Awka, the state capital on 13th November, just before he embarked on a tour of four local government offices, Prof. Yakubu underscored the historic nature of the impending polls, noting: “there has never been a governorship election in the history of Nigeria in which 37 political parties are contesting.”
He continued: “A good election is a source of pride to all of us, while a bad election is a source of worry to all of us. In the field out there are many people who will be happy for INEC officials to do the wrong thing. I want to tell you that while I believe in my staff and I support and do whatever I can to put smiles on their faces, when you run foul of the law, I will have no problem whatsoever getting rid of you from this organization.”
Prof Yakubu also reminded the staff of the “very special responsibility” they carry as election managers, just as he described the Commission’s work as “extra-ordinary” and “not just like any other job.” He praised the staff for their commitment to duty over the years and assured them of the Commission’s determination to continuously improve their welfare.
He said: “I have absolute confidence that the people standing before me are conscientious people. The Commission places high premium on the staff because you are what makes the Commission thick. But the Commission is also aware that for the assets to serve better, you need to be motivated, and one area of motivation is welfare. You have seen the little we have done in the past two years, and let me assure you that it is just the beginning.
“We are one agency that pays salary promptly and on time and we will continue to do so. But to put more smiles on the faces of staff requires more than just putting a little bit of money into your pockets. We also have to do something about the working environment and as you can see from this office, we have started. We will continue to improve on the working environment and we will also continue to give you the opportunity to build your capacities.”
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, who resumed duty in July this year, also described the staff as “hardworking” and “reliable.” While he commended the Commission for providing money for the renovation carried out so far at the state headquarters, he also drew the Chairman’s attention to the accommodation constraints facing the state.
Three National Commissioners – Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, Alhaji Baba Shettima Arfo, Mrs. Amina Zakari and the Technical Team accompanied the Chairman on the tour of Anaocha, Njikoka, Oyi and Anambra East Local government offices, where they witnessed the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards to their owners and also met with the respective Electoral Officers to ascertain their state of preparedness for Saturday’s polls.