The rescheduled 2019 elections could endure one more setback as no fewer than 13 states are battling with a shortfall of vital discipline workers, SaharaReporters can report.
Adamawa, Anambra, Cross Rivers, Delta, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Osun and Taraba are a number of the states already on the crimson alert, in line with investigations.
Our checks present that 205 workers of the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC), all enjoying essential roles, have been interdicted by the fee for the previous 22 months. The affected officers are both Electoral Officers (EOs) or Heads of Division (HoDs) saddled with logistics and operational duties in any respect ranges.
Sources inside the fee have raised the alarm about one other attainable flop, saying, “Saturday’s rescheduled presidential and Nationwide Meeting elections should endure one other setback, as a result of enormous hole of expertise created by the interdiction.”
One supply expressed certainty that INEC Electoral Officers and different vital discipline officers from 13 states, all numbering 205, is not going to be collaborating within the train.
Worse nonetheless, the fee has not competently changed the lack of manpower, thereby exposing the method to a plethora of issues as witnessed final week.
It was gathered that Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the affected 13 states have made a number of appeals about shortfall of workers, however to no avail.
As an example, Kashim Gaidam, REC of Adamawa State, was mentioned to have cried out the loudest about “manpower shortfall”. SaharaReporters gathered that majority of these at present dealing with each skilled and technical roles have been drawn from menial workers, like safety and cleaners.
In Jada Native Authorities Space of Adamawa, the present Electoral Officer was recruited as a guard by the fee. The scenario is just about the identical in variety of different locations. Jada is each hometown and native authorities origin of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Individuals’s Democratic Get together (PDP).
As to how and why the 205 have been interdicted, SaharaReporters additional learnt that about 1,000 INEC workers throughout the nation have been implicated within the alleged Diezani Alison-Madueke $90 billion loot.
One of many interdicted workers informed SaharaReporters: “For us, the hullabaloo about INEC workers accepting gratification from the alleged Diezani loot was the Chairman’s invented approach of conducting the elections with incompetent arms.
“The allegation is that we accepted gratification from proceeds of Diezani’s loot via West Africa Community on Observer (WANO), an accredited election monitoring organisation.
“Sure, WANO partnered INEC in 2015 they usually have been domiciled proper inside INEC workplace, the place they gave all of us money grants for logistics assist. This was completed within the open, there was nothing hidden about it.
“Later, we have been summoned to Abuja and requested to refund the cash, that it was from the Diezani loot, and we did. Afterwards, we acquired letters of interdiction from INEC headquarters that we had been discovered responsible of an offence we have been neither investigated nor queried about.”
It’s curious, nevertheless, that the interdiction has now lasted for 22 months. What’s extra disturbing is that the fee is confronted with acute manpower wants at this vital time. Additionally, some workers of the fee, who’re at present standing trial, in connection to numerous scandals haven’t been interdicted.
This, SaharaReporters can report primarily based on information out there, seeing the Admin Secretary in Bauchi and Anambra have each been indicted by the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) within the Diezani saga however haven’t been interdicted.
One other interdicted workers member mentioned: “Additionally curious is how the workers remained suspended regardless of affirmation by EFCC, that the 205 workers weren’t liable to prosecution relating to the matter at hand.”
When contacted to react on the matter, Gaidam admitted to having made spirited efforts for the reinstatement of the interdicted workers from his Adamawa workplace. Nevertheless, he refuted claims that the interdiction may jeopardise the polls. “If Gaidam falls down proper now elections will go on hitch-free,” he maintained.
Requested for a way lengthy the workers would stay suspended, Gaidam mentioned: “The problem is earlier than the Nationwide Chairman, please direct the query to him.”
He additionally alluded to the truth that justice wanted to be completed on the matter, saying: “With out justice any system of presidency will collapse.”