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By NBF News
Listen to article The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega,  has said that the commission would not stop employing the services of ad hoc staff  in the country's general elections.

Jega made this known at the opening of a deliberation by the observer groups for the 2011/2012 general elections in Abuja, yesterday.

According to him, the best option for INEC is the use of ad hoc personnel for the exercise  regardless of  what obtains in other countries.

Jega said the commission would not use voluntary organisations in the conduct of election because of the “craftiness of  politicians'' in interfering with  the integrity of electoral  process.

“We have to use ad hoc staff, the conventional method is to advertise and go through the normal process.

“We have so many credible people in the country, but if you do otherwise in Nigeria, you will get into problem.

“The conventional practice in most countries is to advertise, short list, interview and employ.

“In most countries that is what happens, but in Nigeria if you do that, you will have additional problems, particularly in the electoral process.

“You have to think about the creativity of our politicians who try to stay one step ahead of you.

“Before you realise it, they will sponsor people that will participate, get screened, get appointed and will now be the ones to manage your elections,'' he said.

Jega said for every general election no fewer than 360,000 polling workers  were required but  that the entire workforce in INEC was 14,000.

The chairman explained that the commission was targeting maximum of 16,000 workers as permanent employees.

He said the use of ad hoc staff by INEC was not inevitable as there was no election management body in the world that could conduct elections with only its permanent staff.

“In fact countries relied on voluntary staff that are not fully-driven by monetary compensation but Nigeria has not got to the level of volunteerism for this purpose,''

He said the commission would overcome all its challenges by 2015.

Jega said INEC had started recruiting ward level officers as well as registration area officers, adding that it would lead to decentralisation of its operations.

'We have officers at the state and local levels.
'Now, the idea is to ensure that there are officers who reside in the ward and it will also help in  terms of subsequent logistics deployment and management of the electoral process.''

He said, the commission would embark on constituency delimitation in 2013 and the creation of new polling units would be done before the 2015 elections.

Jega recalled that a similar exercise was conducted five years ago through which 120,000 polling booths were created for the conduct of the 2007 and 2011 general elections.