By Yashim Katurak/Isaac Aregbesola
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised automatic employment to corps members who performed exceptionally well as ad hoc staff during the 2019 General Elections.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the promise on Monday in Abuja at the presentation of kits with laptops and phones by the European Union (EU) to outstanding corps members who participated in the 2019 Elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that EU donated the kits to 75 outstanding corps members for their excellent performance as INEC ad hoc staff during the 2019 elections.
They were selected as recipients following a public announcement on March 27.
Yakubu, who stressed the important role corps members played during the conduct of election, said that there could be no successful elections in Nigeria without the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
He said that the recognition of the hard work of corps members by the commission and the EU was apt as they had continually over the years put their lives at risk to ensure the peaceful and successful conduct of elections in the country.
The INEC Chairman praised corps members’ resilience, patriotism, dedication and commitment to the electoral process, adding that the commission would continue to reward them for their hard work.
“In addition to what the EU is giving you today, the commission has embarked on the review of the 2019 General elections.
“There are many of you who did very well during the elections. We will identify you and reward those who performed excellently well in the election with automatic employment.
“By doing so, we hope that those of you who have done excellently well will form a group of conscientious election duty staff going on to the next general elections,” he said.
He thanked the EU and the Director-General of the NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim and also the youth corps members stressing “there cannot be any election in Nigeria without the NYSC’’.
“I have said this before and I will say it again that the youth corps members are the most dedicated, the most educated, most patriotic, the most willing, the most able, the most greatly available, and the most committed election duty personnel.
“It is not just about the election but the entire electoral process. You are available for voter education, voter registration and also available on Election Day,” Yakubu said.
The INEC chairman said that the automatic employment being granted by the commission would also be extended to corps members who would perform exceptionally well during the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections holding in November 2019.
Yakubu said that the commission planned to utilise the services of corps members for the entire elections.
Amb. Ketil Karlsen, the Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, while presenting the laptops and phones to the corps members said that the gesture was a way of thanking them for their participation in the elections.
Karlsen, said that the EU recognised the important work corps members carry out during elections, adding that the youths were the backbone of democracy.
The ambassador also announced that the 75 corps members had been coopted as ambassadors of the EU, assuring them of the unions support in the future.
He said that each recipient was carefully selected by a panel of the NYSC and the EU delegation in Abuja.
According to him, 292,000 corps members participated in the general elections and it could not have been possible without their participation, “so we sat down to think what we could possibly do to thank them.’’
“We will have loved to reach out to every single one of the corps members who participated all over the country, unfortunately that is not possible but we tried to convince Brussels and the European Parliament to do something that has never been done before.
“They agreed to directly pass down the equipment that was used during the EU observation mission to 75 corps members who participated.
“I have seen the hardships you have had to endure; the journey has just begun I want you to count on the EU to accompany you on that journey onwards to ensure the full actualisation of democracy in Nigeria.’’
The NYSC Director-General, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim said that the scheme was not surprised by the appreciation accorded corps members by the EU as they had continued to play major roles in ensuring peaceful and successful conduct of elections.
Ibrahim said that with over 300,000 corps members mobilised every year, the scheme had created opportunities for corps members to discover and harness their potential for personal and national development.
He therefore called on the EU to support the scheme in its effort to provide entrepreneurial skills and start-up capital to enable corps members establish businesses for self-employment after the service year.
The NYSC boss said that this support would go a long way to contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. (NAN)