By Nathaniel Gana
23rd March 2022
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has commended the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members for their contributions to the successful conduct of several elections in the country. He described them as “indispensable”.
Speaking during a brief but impressive ceremony held at the INEC headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday 22nd March 2022, where Prof. Yakubu and the Director-General of the NYSC, Major-General Shuiabu Ibrahim signed the revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of their organisations, Yakubu averred that Nigeria was, indeed, fortunate to have NYSC scheme in place.
He affirmed: “The youth corps members are among the most educated, most committed, most patriotic, and most readily available election duty staff in Nigeria. We’re happy that we have been collaborating with the NYSC. They go to all the nooks and crannies of the country without complaints”.
Prof. Yakubu explained that the revised MoU identified 11 obligations for INEC and 10 for the NYSC.
He assured the DG: “We will continue to emphasise the security and welfare of corps members on election duty. I know that the MoU provides for a periodic review after every 4 years, but this is a regular periodic review. Whenever the need arises, the Commission is always willing to review aspects of the memorandum at any time, to attain the two objectives of ensuring the security and welfare of the corps members”.
He added: “The MoU is governed by the laws of the Federation of Nigeria, and it shows our commitment and seriousness to the security and welfare of the corps members. It will provide insurance cover for all ad-hoc staff under the INEC Personnel Hazard Policy for the period of engagement and this covers injury, permanent disability, loss of life and property or any person declared missing in the cause of carrying out the Commission’s assigned duties. The appropriate sections of the public service rules will apply to the NYSC staff, as well as other employees who are public servants serving in the federation of Nigeria”.
The INEC Chairman recalled that one of the most difficult elections the Commission had conducted was the Anambra governorship election. “I remember speaking to you literarily, and you relocated to Anambra and encouraged the corps members to participate in the election,” he told the DG. “The good thing is that we had a successful, credible, fantastic election in which not one person was slapped, let alone injured or even killed”.
Prof. Yakubu assured: “we will continue to do what we need to do to ensure that we protect the safety, security, and welfare of the corps members. I want to assure you that we take our obligations in the MoU very seriously and I want to thank you once again for standing by Nigeria, for standing by the electoral process, and for standing by our democracy”.
On his part, Major-General Ibrahim appreciated the Commission for the long-standing cordial relationship. He corroborated the INEC Chairman on the successes achieved in the Anambra governorship election.
He said: “I was in Anambra for five days. Corps members were scared, and I told them there was no cause for fear. I stayed with them for 5 days. I moved around the Local Governments, polling unit by polling unit, and this engendered their confidence in the electoral process, and they did their best. There was no injury, nothing happened to any of my corps members”.
Gen. Ibrahim urged the Commission to sustain the relationship with the NYSC and assured that the corps members would also remain committed to serving the country and contributing to the conduct of credible elections.
He said, “I want to urge INEC to continue to sustain this relationship with the NYSC. I can assure you that corps members are willing, they’re very patriotic and they are ready to put in their best to the service of the country”.
He added: “On this note, I want to, once again, commend you for the good job you’re doing. I am sure you’re not doing it alone. You have the support of your National Commissioners and your team. We pray to the Almighty God that subsequent elections will be hitch-free and nothing will happen to the process. No harm will come to corps members.”
Al1 the 12 National Commissioners, Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, the Director-General of the Electoral Institute, Dr Saád Idris, Directors, and other Management staff of the Commission witnessed the event.