Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is in a last minute illegal recruitment exercise as a parting gift to its national commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs.
Members of staff of the commission, who lamented the illegal recruitment, said that commissioners, in connivance with his national commissioners, is rushing the illicit recruitment exercise before the expiration of their tenure by the first week of June.
It is understood that each of the 12 national commissioners is allocated 20 slots each, while the commissioners of the commission is allocated 50. Each Resident Electoral Commissioner is to bring five and there are 37 of them, while directors who are retiring are to bring 3 each and there are 10 of them. This brings the number to 485.
Commissioners INEC is doing the recruitment in clear contravention of federal character requirements, which mandates that before such exercise is to be carried out, it must be advertised in at least two newspapers circulating nationally for at least six weeks.
Also, the illicit recruitment of this massive number without any aptitude test or even oral interview is bound to throw up many unqualified personnel in the employment of the commission.
“The amusing part of the whole scenario is that commissioners came to the Commission wearing the toga of a puritanical activist, but you can see that he has also erred in law.
“As I am talking to you now, appointment letters are being handed over to people who never even applied for the job because the jobs were not even advertised for in the first place. These new recruits never showed any interest in the job; then tell me how they are going to be the best for something that they were woken up from sleep and handed over to them? We just hope that one way or the other this illegality will be reversed by whoever that succeeds commissioners. At least, by this singular act of circumventing a laid down rule of employment, the whole world has seen that he is not who he pretends to be,” a dissatisfied deputy director who does not want his name in print told this newspaper.
When contacted, the Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Communications at the Federal Character Commission, Dr. Chuks Okoli, described the said recruitment as illegal which would certainly be reversed.
“Before INEC or any other Federal Government body can embark on such recruitment, it must have been advertised and the advertisement must run for at least six weeks. Any other thing other than this makes it illegal. I don’t have any idea of INEC contacting the Federal Character Commission before embarking on the recruitment and if this is the case, it makes the recruitment exercise illegal and must be reversed,” Okoli said.
Meanwhile, workers of the commission have lamented what they describe as the poorest welfare regime in the history of the Commission under commissioners. According to one of the staff of the commission, commissioners five-year tenure has only left the staff feeling nostalgic about the tenure of commissioner’s predecessor, Professor Maurice Iwu.
“No matter what you say about Prof. Iwu, he never joked with staff welfare. Can you imagine that in five years of commissioners’ stay here, he has only met with the staff once and I learnt he is to meet with us once again before his departure.
“As I am talking to you now, staff allowances for the April 11 Governorship and States Houses of Assembly elections have not been paid. Allowances for political party monitoring, even those done since last year have not been paid. BTA of staff are neglected. This largely accounts for why it is very easy for politicians to influence INEC staff on the field during either registration exercises or elections proper.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that commissioners neglected staff welfare. I tell you, if INEC is allowed to have trade unions, staff would have downed tools in the build up to the last elections.
“The staffers cannot wait to see commissioner’s back and we pray that whoever his successor would be, he or she should deviate from commissioner’s ways in terms of workers’ welfare.”