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INEC’s stunning lack of preparation for the 2019 elections

It is now no surprise that the Independent National Electoral Commission was severely unprepared for the country’s presidential election scheduled to hold last weekend. As at Friday the 15th of February, a day before the election, Kebbi State was definitely unprepared as the electoral commission had still not provided sensitive materials for the polls or addressed its ad hoc staff.

A few hours to the election, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu went on record saying: “The commission is, at the moment, putting finishing touches to the preparations for the election,” to a delegation of election observers from the European Union (EU). Unfortunately, as was revealed at 2:30 am on Saturday the 16th of February, the commission was not.

In a conversation with IfeOluwatobi Babatunde, a Youth Corps member from Kebbi State, he revealed that no one had come to address them at the INEC office by 10:30 pm that Friday night. According to him, some of them had been there since 10:00 am.

Another member of the Youth Corps in the state, Dotun Agboola, noted that they had waited there in very cold weather with no news from the INEC Headquarters. “Some will still be required to leave this local government tonight. Imagine travelling for three hours and still be required to start the election by 8:00 am when we have not even been attended to by 11:00 pm. Our work cannot be efficient due to stress and lack of sleep.”

On the quality of training they received, he said that it was mostly theoretical and not practical. “When the lecturer wanted to teach us about e-collation, he said that he could not use the card reader because he did not have its password. We are expected to use these gadgets tomorrow and we were not practically taught how to.”

Olatunji Felix believes that they [the members of the Nigerian Youth Service Corps] are not well equipped as ad hoc officers. Speaking on the training which took place last week in Birnin-Kebbi, he remarked: “I believe we are half baked.” The training lasted for three days, and, according to him, they barely received up to two hours of quality training per day. He recalled that they were divided into groups and trained differently. Supposedly, some have better training than the others but they are all expected to perform equally.

Efforts to reach the INEC office as at the time of compiling this report proved abortive.

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