The Independent National Electoral Commission says members of the National Youths Service Corps are the only authorised election officers to handle the Bimodal Voter Authentication System during the election.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, stated this when he visited the training centre of the Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers I, II, and III in Abuja on Saturday.
Yakubu said the Commission cannot rely on its workforce for the conduct of a credible and peaceful election, hence, the need for mobilisation of the NYSC members.
The INEC Chairman tasked the Corps members to be loyal to Nigeria and Nigerians and not political parties.
He also told them that on no account should they leave the BVAS in the custody of another, adding that the Corps members are going to be tracked.
Yakubu explained “Nigeria is fortunate to have young citizens like you. There is no way INEC can conduct elections without the NYSC. You are simply indispensable in the conduct of elections in Nigeria. We cannot conduct elections with our workforce alone.
“So we have to rely on you and other categories of staff. But you are going to operate at the most important level of the electoral system; at the polling unit levels because that is where citizens go and vote. All of you will swear an oath of neutrality. Your loyalty is to Nigeria and Nigerians and not to any political party or any candidate. You will be the INEC Chairman at your polling unit. You are the King at the polling units.
“You are the only ones that will handle the BVAS at polling units on election day. Take this job seriously. We are tracking you as well so that we can know who is holding which BVAS. Do not give this BVAS to someone else.”
When asked if the election will hold amidst protests over naira scarcity, the INEC Chairman said “The protests happening in the country is a security matter. This is an issue that we are going to discuss with the security agencies.
“As you know, we have our own role clearly cut out and others too have theirs. The most important thing is that we are working together and they have assured us they will secure the environment for the election to take place.”