By Elizabeth Chukwuma
Given the poor treatment meted out to the Youth Corpers, who were mostly the ad-hoc Staff engaged by the Independent National Electoral Commission , INEC, for the postponed Presidential and National Assembly Elections, which was and the threat Suleiman Kazaure, a Brigadier General and Director general, National Youth Corps Service, NYSC, to withdraw the Corpers from further participation in the elections, Mahmood Yakubu, the Commission Chairman, may have pleaded with Magaji Bichi, Director general, Department of State Service, DSS to step in. this is to avoid a repeat of such an embarrassing situation in the forth coming Saturday, February 23, 2019 election.
Bichi, the DSS, Director General, did not hesitate in giving his words to Yakubu, the INEC, boss , to provide the needed security for the Corpers in the forthcoming election. That may have gladdened the INEC Chairman , who quickly communicated to Kazaure, the NYSC, boss to soft pedal in his plan to avoid drawing the hand of the clock. .
When it became obvious the DSS personnel are coming over to protect the interest of the Corpers during the elections, the state INEC and Local government officials and thee security operatives who connive to maltreat the Corpers knew they are in for trouble. They knew that they would no longer divert the entitlement of the Corpers or put them in a Hotel for a night to be able to report at the polling booths at the appointed time during the election. The DSS, officials may have sent a signal to the INEC and the NYSC, officials that it is not going to be business as usual.
As a prelude at making the INEC and the NYSC state officials including the local government Inspectors understand that the ad-hoc staff could no longer be taken for granted, the DSS , officials were said to have held the meeting with them on the safety of the ad-hoc staff, particular, the Corps members during the electioneering process. The meeting was said to have been held today, Thursday, February 21, 2019 throughout the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. Take, for instance, the meeting between the DSS and the Local government NYSC Inspectors in Lagos state, it was learnt the parties took far reaching decisions to ensure that the generals go on as planned without interfering the Corps members or make life miserable for them to play into the hand of the politicians who might want to bribe their way to rig the election.
A source privy to meeting said that they agreed that RACs, the place where the local government Inspectors and the ad-hoc staff meet and the polling booths must come alive before 5 pm on Friday, February 23, 2019. The DSS officials were said to assured the Local government NYSC Inspectors , that they would be at the RAC, 24 ,hours before the election. This is good news for the Corps members who scared that they may be subjected to another round of suffering this time around. The INEC and the NYSC Local government Inspectors may have known that what they did to the Corpers was they paid N4,500.00 inconvenience allowance to everyone of them including the NYSC ad-hoc staff.
In spite of the fact that the DSS officials would be at the RACs and polling booths 24 hours to ensure their security, they may have read the riot act to the Corps members when they warned that ”there should be no compromise by the ad-hoc staff before, during or after voting procedure. They would want the Corps members to be neutral in the discharge of their duties by being ”conscious of their oath of neutrality”. The urged the ad-hoc election official officials must do their jobs diligently without any iota of laxity or dishonesty to avoid coming into confrontation with security operatives.
The DSS officials may have brought smiles to the Local NYSC Inspectors when they assured that if any security issue comes up at the RACs or polling booths, they would respond promptly. This is a warning to those who might want cause trouble to disrupt the election to be careful as they may be lucky if they could go back home alive. This is because of the Presidential directive to security operatives to be ruthless with ballot boxes snatchers or those who might want to disrupt the electioneering process .
The DSS officials may have been deployed to the states , fully prepared to ensure that that Yakubu, the INEC Chairman and his officials conduct a ”free, fair and credible election” that Nigerians would be respected all over the world. The DSS officials , who are said to be working with the NYSC , Local government Inspectors, may have given the Corps members a security tips to be conscious of ”movements around them before, during and after the electioneering process”. They may have given the security tip to protect the Youth Corps members from unexpected security challenges.
Political thugs , who think , they can intimidate the ad-hoc staff during the election may run into trouble as the Corps members were said to have empowered to reach out to the LGI, , who in turn would reach out to the DSS Officials, who have a team on ground ready for action at strategic locations.
Political watchers are waiting to see what would happen in Rivers state, where Nyesom Wike, the governor had said he has no trust on Mohammed Abubakr Adamu, the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, and his officers providing the necessary for the conduct of elections in the state. The deployment of DSS to work with LGIs in the sttae and deployment of Austin Braimoh, a Commissioner of Police to take charge of security in the south-south geo-political Zone, during the elections should be a source of Joy to him.
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