By NBF News

Acting on the reports on the last general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is to embark on total restructuring and overhaul of its over 12, 000 personnel in preparation for the next polls. This is even as the commission disclosed that it spent over N10 billion to conduct the April elections.

The INEC is to embark on rationalization and restructuring of the personnel to streamline its operation as a fall-out of inadequacies during the exercise, Daily Sun has learnt.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Publicity and Information, Prince Adedeji Solomon Soyebi, told Daily Sun that the restructuring was not aimed at any person or group of persons as may be speculated but to streamline the operations of the Commission for better performance.

According to him, the restructuring will entail mass redeployment across the country, stating that the last elections had revealed a lot of things that went wrong and needed to be put right before the preparations for the next elections begin.

Soyebi revealed that the commission would hire external consultants to drive the restructuring and prepare the ground for the employment of new hands, a process that was suspended following the exit of former INEC Chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu.

'The commission will soon carry out major re-organization of staff. This is what has delayed the recruitment of new staff for the commission. We want to stimulate the workforce and make sure we have a functional workforce.

'We need to re-organize the departments themselves. The re-structuring is inevitable. We discovered, that in some departments, we have five directors, while some don't even have at all. There is no way the directors can be submissive to one another, so what you find is that there will be overlapping of functions, so, all these we want to address. We will transfer staff to areas and departments where their services are needed.

However, Soyebi said the retrenchment would not entail sack except those found to have bad record would be excused. 'We can't be talking of retrenchment when we are planning to recruit. This is a pure re-organization, when we get there, we will know who goes where, whether dead wood or living woods.'Don't forget, we have condition of service. We don't just sack people. We follow due process', he added.

The INEC National Commissioner also disclosed that the commission expended more than N10 billion to prosecute the April elections including re-run, saying the outcome justified the amount committed.

Following complaints by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, upon assumption of office last June, that the electoral agency lacks enough fund to conduct credible elections as the commission would need to conduct fresh electronic voters registration, the National Assembly had appropriated funds twice, totalling N87.7 billion. Of the amount, INEC spent $230m (N34.5billion) on the procurement of 120,000 Direct Data Capture machines for the registration last November.

INEC also reportedly spent N13billion on printing of ballot papers for the three elections but held in five different times.

Soyebi explained that the cost was worth it when compared to the significance of the outcome of the process which had been hailed by all and sundry that it was the best ever in the country. 'It has improved the rating of Nigeria in the international community as a leading African country where democracy is taking roots.'

Also, the INEC boss stated that given some lapses in the conduct of the elections, INEC would embark further delineation of constituencies to create more polling units from the existing ones. He explained that the commission had found out that quite many polling areas have more voters than could be managed as observed during the last elections.

'Therefore, there would be the need to create more polling units from the existing ones to bring the number of registered voters in each unit to a manageable size.'

According to him, a situation where in some polling units, a total number of nine registered voters contended to vote is not healthy enough, citing Gwarinpa, and Sun City in Abuja as cases in point, where the number of registered voters exceeded expectations of the commission.

'No doubt we have to create more polling units legally. Double the number we have already across the nation. We need to have polling units not having more than 300 or 350 registered voters so that voting could be managed peacefully,' he stated.