The chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has declared that the Commission needs about 1.2 million personnel, including security agencies, as well as ad’hoc staff to conduct the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu who spoke through the chairman, Board of the Electoral Institute (BEI), Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, during the Election Security Personnel Training of Trainers for the 2019 general elections held in Kano, said over 360,000 to 450,000 security personnel are needed to man the polling units across the country during the elections.
The training was organized by INEC in collaboration with European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and the European Union (EU).
He also added that INEC requires about 500,000 security personnel to ensure peaceful and rancour-free elections in 2019.
Prof. Yakubu further revealed that Nigeria is the second largest democracy in the world with 84 million registered voters, after the United States of America (USA), adding that in Africa, Nigeria remains the largest.
He appealed to security agencies to ensure that they provide conducive atmosphere for credible elections, urging them, “not to leave any stone unturned while performing their duties. Election is supposed to be a civil exercise, so you have to conduct yourself in such a manner that the electorate will not be scared of you.”
According to him, “this training on election security is, therefore, very important as it will serve to equip the security personnel with knowledge of our electoral process, electoral environment, electoral laws and guidelines and the risk elements inherent or associated with them.
“Therefore, I implore participants to take the training seriously as it will deepen your standard Electoral Operation Guidelines and create a harmonise relationship amongst security agencies on election duty,” Yakubu said.
In his remarks at the event, ECES Project Director, Rudolf Elbling who was represented by the ECES Senior Media and Communications Advisor, Paul Anderson, noted that conducting hitch-free and credible elections require a peaceful environment devoid of threats to lives and properties.
According to him, “Election officials can only discharge their responsibilities of organizing elections including deployment and retrieval of materials in a secured environment. Voters also require a peaceful environment to be able to come out and vote during elections without fear of intimidation and harassment.”
He added that for the 2019 general election to be successful, “security agencies have critical roles to play in securing the electoral process, a role that has become more challenging in view of reported cases of security breaches in certain parts of the country. The issue of security is indeed very complex in a vast country like Nigeria where election personnel and materials have to be deployed across land expanse and some difficult terrain.”
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