On September 15, 2023, the Electoral Hub hosted a roundtable discussion sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation through the MADIBA Foundation for Good Governance. The session, presided over by the former INEC commissioner, Hajiya Amina Zakari, gathered Electoral ad-hoc staff to share their experiences.
Ad-hoc staff, primarily from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), hold a crucial role in ensuring the integrity of the electoral process.
The primary objectives of the roundtable were to document their activities, identify lessons learned, propose policy solutions for better ad hoc staff management, and enhance their understanding of the electoral process.
In an exclusive interview with AkweyaTV, the director of the Electoral Hub, Princess Hamman-Obels, stressed the importance of sharing experiences to improve future elections in the country.
During the event, a former INEC National Commissioner, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, emphasised the qualifications necessary for electoral staff in Nigeria, highlighting the significance of knowledge, courage, and carriage in their roles.
Numerous ad-hoc staff shared their experiences, expressing concerns over inadequate security provisions during operations. Many reported insufficient training and assumed advanced knowledge without proper instruction, leaving them vulnerable to intimidation or coercion. Remuneration was also a prominent issue, with staff highlighting delayed and insufficient payments as contributing factors to potential compromises in their duties.
In response to these challenges, the roundtable generated several recommendations. ad-hoc staff called for INEC to establish a standardised vetting process and ensure comprehensive training for all appointees. They also urged specialised training and the proper equipping of security personnel. Timely and fair remuneration was another key demand, coupled with a plea for national recognition of the invaluable contributions made by INEC staff.
As discussions concluded, it became evident that the voices of ad-hoc staff had shed light on critical areas requiring reform within the electoral process. The onus now lies on INEC to implement these recommendations to strengthen the foundation of democratic elections in the country.