• Says it requires 10,603 staff for elections

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Thursday warned the Committee of Vice Chancellors (CVC) against nominating academic staff members involved in partisan politics as Returning Officers in the forthcoming elections

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the warning during a meeting between the commission and the CVC, while also revealing that the commission requires 10,603 staff members to support the various collation and declaration processes.

He said without the involvement of the country’s tertiary institutions, the commission would find it extremely difficult to conduct credible elections.

The chairman added that the collaboration between INEC and the CVC has further enhanced the transparency and credibility of elections in Nigeria as well as public’s confidence in the process.

Yakubu stated that “for the 2019 general election, the commission would require some 10,603 staff members to support various collation and declaration processes. It is for this reason that this meeting is of crucial importance.

“We need the support of our universities to source the requisite members of interested academic staff on the understanding that this is essentially a national service.

“As in previous elections, we have requested each university for a specified number of academic staff as contained in my letter to the vice chancellors. Staff who are card carrying members or have participated in partisan politics should not be nominated.

“Similarly, those who may not be involved in partisan political activities, but are known to have obvious political leanings should not be nominated.

“The commission will carefully scrutinise the list, which must be submitted confidentially in the manner prescribed by the commission in my letter to the vice chancellors.”

Yakubu stressed that the commission always appreciates the support of the vice chancellors and the collaboration with the universities often under strenuous circumstances.

Responding on behalf of the CVC, the Vice Chancellor of Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Prof. Kyari Muhammed, said the vice chancellors were committed to the Nigerian project, free and fair elections.

He assured them that they would give the commission all the needed support to guarantee free and fair elections.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, thanked INEC for the confidence reposed in them.

He, therefore, urged the vice chancellors to take the assignment very seriously and nominated academic members that are as neutral as possible.

According to Rasheed, “We are being monitored, please save this system to ensure free and fair elections. I want to assure you sir that these vice chancellors and others who are not here will not fail this election.”