INEC To Deploy 1.4million Ad Hoc Staff For 2023 General Elections

By Damilare Adeleye

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has disclosed that it would engage 1.4 million ad hoc staff for the conduct of the 2023 general polls.

The National Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, made this known while speaking with Nigerian Guild of Editors, yesterday, in Lagos.

Yakubu added that the INEC would map out new measures to check vote buying and narrated the complexities of Nigeria’s elections.

He said: “For the 2023 General Elections, we will recruit and train staff with numbers several times more than the entire armed forces of Nigeria. We will engage at least a 1.4million Ad hoc staff and the staff are staff that would be operating in the polling units level, collation and returning officers. “1.4million is bigger than the Nigerian Armed Forces. That is what we are going to deploy twice for the February 25 national election and for the state elections which include the governorship and State Assembly.

“We are going to manage 21,520 positions in 2023-the President and Vice President, 28 governors, 28 Deputy Governors, 109 Senators, 360 members of the House of Representatives, 993 State Constituencies for which elections would be conducted. So it’s a huge undertaking. We have 18 political parties.

“There are 15 countries in West Africa, including Nigeria. Excluding Nigeria, the voter population in the other 14 countries as of last year was 73 million. The voter population in Nigeria as of 2019 was 84 million. So there are 11 million more voters than all the other 14 countries combined.

“Each time Nigeria goes to the polls, it is like the entire West Africa voting. This would give you an idea of the size of what we are facing. 1.9million registered voters registered for the last Osun governorship election. That was more than the total population of the Republic of Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde put together. By the time you talk about Lagos, you are talking about several countries combined. “It is the accumulation of these complexities that INEC must manage, and administer as we approach the 2023 General Election commencing on February 25”.

Asked why the Commission is not employing electronic voting in the forthcoming elections, Prof. Yakubu said the commission is getting closer to electronic voting in future elections.

“There has been improvement in the process. If you reflect back on 1999 and 2003, there were moments when winners were declared while voters were still in the voting queue It will never happen again.

“We are deliberately deploying technology to make it very difficult if not impossible. There are still challenges but you can see the gradual improvement. it is brick by brick you build a house, you don’t build a house overnight.

“ Our vision for the 2023 election is to conduct the best elections ever conducted in Nigeria that would be free, fair, credible, transparent, inclusive and verifiable. People can sit down and see the result of their polling units Online,” he stated.