The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will have negative effect on its preparations for the 2019 general elections.
Festus Okoye, the chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, disclosed this during a one-day seminar on Media and Gender Sensitive Reporting of Elections in Abuja on Thursday.
Okoye, while explaining that the electoral body draws over 70 percent of the staff need from students of federal tertiary institutions said it is near impossible for members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to provide all the ad-hoc staff requirements of the commission.
“For the 2019 elections, INEC will recruit and deploy over 1 million ad-hoc staff made up of lecturers and students in federal tertiary institutions and corps members. This category of staff will serve as returning officers, collation officers, supervisory presiding officers and assistant presiding officers. So, it is important and imperative that they are in school a month before the election,” he said.
Okoye urged ASUU and the Federal Government to resolve the deadlock, stressing that a quick settlement would serve the interest of the nation and democracy.
“We are several weeks away from the general elections and this seminar could not be more appropriate,” said Deputy Representative of UN Women, Mr. Lansana Wonneh.
“At UN Women, we are working with INEC to make sure that there are efforts in making elections free and fair and inclusive especially gender inclusive,” he said, urging the media to promote women in politics.