Trouble looms for Imo Nov. 11 Guber election: INEC unable to find enough Ad hoc staff, records 6,154 shortfall

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the commission has recorded a shortfall of 6,154 ad hoc staff for the conduct of the governorship election in Imo on Nov. 11.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the disclosure at a two-day workshop on Election Reporting, Ethical Practices, Safety, and Conflict Sensitivity in Election Coverage on Monday in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.

The chairman said the shortfall was observed at the close of online application for the recruitment of ad hoc staff for the Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi governorship elections.

Yakubu, represented by the National Commissioner, Prof. kunle Ajayi, who did not state the reason for the shortfall, however, said that staff would be sourced from the neighbouring states.

“Ad hoc staff portal for the November 2023 off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States was opened on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 at 8 a.m. and closed on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023 at 12 Midnight.

“The summary of successful applicants shows that Bayelsa and Kogi have full complement of their requirement for all categories of Ad-hoc staff, while Imo has a shortfall of 6,154.

“The shortfall will be sourced from the neighbouring state,” Yakubu said.

Speaking further on the commission’s presentation for the three states off elections, Yakubu said all the non-sensitive materials required for the elections had been deployed to the states.

He added that 55 media organisations, comprising 914 personnel had applied through the Commission’s portal for coverage of the state elections as of Friday Oct. 13.

He also said that printing of party agent tags would commence on Monday, Oct. 16.

“The Registration Area Center (RAC) and Collation Center assessment is completed.

“The engagement with RAC officials on Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for RAC management in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states has been completed.

“The Pre-Election Planning technical workshop (PEP) for Electoral Officers (Eos), Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs), Head of Units (HoU), Training and Head of Departments (Operation) for the states elections had been completed”.

Yakubu explained that the workshop was to deepen the participants’ knowledge of the commission’s processes and procedures.

He said that It would go a long way in ensuring factual, balanced, and informed coverage of the INEC’s activities.

“The INEC Press Corp is an indispensable partner in the electoral process, and they provide a veritable platform and pathway for the dissemination of electoral information to the Nigerian public.

“The commission will continue to collaborate with you in providing the requisite information that enables you all to engage in the electoral process and educate citizens to make informed choices,” he said.

The Chairman, INEC Press Corps, Mr Segun Ojumu, said that the workshop would significantly contribute to the professionalism and effectiveness of the INEC Press Corps.

Ojumu expressed confidence that the workshop would do this by improving their skills in ethical reporting and enhancing their safety awareness and would contribute to the overall integrity and fairness of the electoral process.

“As you are aware, the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa scheduled for Nov. 11 hold significant importance for INEC and the nation as a whole.

“Accurate and unbiased reporting is vital to ensure transparency, public trust, and the credibility of the electoral process.

“Therefore, it is essential that members of the INEC Press Corps are adequately equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfil their roles effectively,” he said.

Ojumu added that the workshop would be a comprehensive training program designed to address the key issues faced by journalists covering elections.

The workshop was organised by INEC in collaboration with the Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) for INEC Press Corps.

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