By Olayinka Olawale
Mr Mohammed Momoh, Lagos State Coordinator, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), on Wednesday said that the scheme had mobilised 13,637 corps members as INEC ad hoc staff for the 2019 general election.
Momoh made the disclosure while addressing corps members at the Ikeja Local Government Secretariat ahead of their participation in the 2019 general elections.
He said the corps members had been trained, presented and mobilised for the 2019 elections.
The coordinator said the training of the corps members was like no other nationwide, because it started from the orientation camp where corps members were trained by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on card reader before the actual training on elections.
He said that NYSC believed that with all the training, corps members were ready to discharge their duties responsibly.
”Your effectiveness is one of those vital factors that will allow for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections,” Momoh said.
”I want to authoritatively say that with the inclusion of corps members, our elections have become better and better from 2011 till date.
”We don’t expect anything else from this election; we have picked valuable lessons from our participation from 2011 till date and we have been putting them to use.
“That is why the elections are getting better and the security of corps members is enhanced,” he said.
Momoh said some people would ask, why corps members in elections?
He said the objectives of setting up NYSC was for nation-building, adding: ”you will agree with me that participating in election is a service to the nation.”
The coordinator advised the corps members to reinvent and surpass the performance that had given credence to elections in the country.
He urged corps members to fully charge their mobile phones and go along with power banks as well as load recharge cards in order to make emergency calls.
Momoh said that corps members should equip themselves with the telephone numbers of all state and local government officials of the NYSC as well as security numbers for emergency purpose.
”Pack snacks, water and lunch for yourselves during the elections; refresh on all training materials and manuals and follow correct electoral process.
”You are answerable to only NYSC officials and INEC electoral officers, do not speak to the press in the course of the elections,” he said.
The coordinator said that all corps members participating in the elections must be properly dressed in NYSC uniform and display their identification cards to avoid people that might want to impersonate corps members.
He said corps members must be at their various Registration Area Centres (RACs) 24 hours before the elections and pass the night there.
”For the Presidential and Senatorial elections, you must get to your RAC by 4:pm on February 15 and for the governorship and house of Assembly elections, you must be there by 4:pm, March 1.
”Your job is to work as ad hoc staff and do it the right way; ensure that you work to confirm that you have been trained.
”If you engage in sharp practices, you will not be saved by the scheme.
”Do not accept gifts or food items from politicians or electorate in order not to compromise your integrity.
”On the day of the election, you will be working with security operatives in your polling units; interact with them at all times.
”Be fair, polite, courteous and firm in the discharge of your duties. Ensure that you work with conformity with the electoral guidelines given to you.
”As you are aware, the NYSC is non-partisan,” he said.
Momoh assured the corps members of adequate security during and after the elections, adding that he and other NYSC officials would be on ground monitoring the elections.
”Your security is assured because we are part of the election security committee with assurances from the Commissioner of Police that your safety is paramount.
”Security operatives will be attached to each polling unit and if you discover that there are none within your polling unit, please call for one.
”Before the election day, prepare yourself emotionally, financially and spiritually,” he said.
Momoh assured them that all ad hoc electoral officers would be paid due allowances and remuneration by INEC, promising that nobody would remove anything from their allowance.
The coordinator urged politicians to see corps members as their children and not do anything that would implicate or endanger their lives.
He also assured parents of adequate security and safety of their children and others participating as INEC ad hoc staff during the elections.
He warned corps members against posting of fake claims on social media and the official media platform of the scheme, saying that those already caught posting fake information would be sanctioned with service extension.
”Use social media positively to advance your course in life and not to destroy your future,” he said.
Read also: 2019 polls: NYSC DG urges corps members to be non-partisan