BY EMMANUEL AZIKEN, POLITICAL EDITOR
National chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, has commended the strategic plan unfolded by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, towards 2015 general elections.
Lauding the plan, Umeh, nevertheless, called for policies to check the recruitment of biased ad-hoc staff who, he said, often work against the objectives of the electoral body.
Umeh expressed concern that ad-hoc staff constituted more than 80 percent of the personnel used by INEC for election.
He also welcomed the introduction of the permanent voters’ card which he said would eliminate incidence of multiple voting and under-aged voting.
The APGA chairman spoke, following the meeting between INEC and chairmen and secretaries of political parties during which the commission’s strategic plans were unveiled.
He said: “The strategic plan is a wonderful document and a lot of research went into it and what it showed was that INEC is eager and determined to give Nigeria the best electoral management practises.
“However, INEC needs to be careful over the recruitment of ad-hoc staff since over 80 percenmt of people who perform election duties are not INEC staff and that is a very large proportion.”
Calling for a policy that would allow stakeholders verify the impartiality of the ad-hoc staff, he said: “So, if the commission makes it a policy of publishing names of ad-hoc staff and ask the public to raise objections where necessary it will help us to remove people who have special interest in the election to be engaged to perform election duty. It will make the conduct of free and fair election much more easy.”
On the introduction of permanent voters’ cards, Umeh said the card with very special features would help remove the incidence of multiple voting.
He said: “A holder of a permanent voters’ card has his biometric data encoded into it and anybody who is not the owner of the card cannot use it to cast vote on the day of the election”.