Evaluating the conduct of the 2015 election in comparison with previous elections, one can comfortably award the performance of INEC with an excellent mark. This notwithstanding that there were hitches experienced in several aspect of the electoral process. The commission was able to conduct the election beyond the expectations of many Nigerians particularly, doomsayers who predicted that the commission will fail abysmally especially with the introduction of card reader technology to the process. A technology whose success was yet to be tested even in a small election like a local government election. thus, this became an issue for contention across the country.
In view of this, pessimists rather wanted the initiative disbanded and shifted to subdequent elections. Possibly after it must have been used in other elections but not the 2015 general elections which they considered the fate of Nigeria.
Another dimension to these fears raised was the issue of insecurity in some part of the country with particular reference to the bombings and killing in the North east region by the Boko Haram insurgents. On this premise the election was shifted for six weeks. Despite this challenges witnessed, the commission went into the exercise and came out successful.
Although it may not be credited as the most violent-free election but can be adjudged as the most credible election so far conducted. This can be true by the number of cases before the tribunal across the country.
Though the essence of this piece is not to asses INEC on 2015 election. I have had to go through these explanation to demonstrate how the adhoc staff were instrumental to the glory that is now accorded to INEC.
It could be recalled that prior to the 2015 general elections, INEC sought for the nigerians to apply for the role of adhoc staff in the then coming elections. This was consequent upon sensing that based on the tension which enveloped the country, most NYSC members which the commission had relied on in the 2011 elections may not be willing to participate in the conduct of the election. Perhaps, they became victims of the post-election violence that erupted in parts of northern nigeria.
Again, it was also stated that with the introduction of the card reader technology, INEC will need more hands in the conduct of the 2015 elections. hence, the need to use other window available to address the challenge which may arise.
This brought the issue of using post-NYSC Nigerians and students who probably were in their final years in tertiary institutions across Nigeria to conduct the election.
After all said and done, many months after the conduct of the elections, the big issue is that most of the ad hoc staff who participated in the process like in Udu Local Government are yet to be paid their allowances by INEC. It was gathered that some individuals at the commission are involved in fraudulent activities of pocketing money meant for those who have worked day and night. INEC must urgently look into this before some few criminal minded individuals rubbish its name.
For someone like me who was involved in the process though not as an INEC staff, I witnessed the discomfort these Nigerians went through to conduct these elections. In fact, the staff risked their lives for this country. They must be commended and given their due reward to encourage others in the future to participate. Their allowances should paid.
I had thought this happened in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, but with my earlier article in some social media platform, it became glaring that it is a national issue. I read Nigerians lamented their disappointment at INEC. Furthermore, it was revealed that these aggrieved Nigerians are organising themselves to go on protest across Nigeria. my candid advice to INEC and all concerned is that they should act fast before this issue turn into an international mess.