The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said that members of the National Youth Services Corps are the only authorized election officials expected to handle the Bimodal Voter Authentication System during the election.
INEC President Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this during his visit to the training center for the presidents and assistant presidents I, II and III in Abuja on Saturday.
Yakubu said the Commission cannot rely on its workforce to run credible and peaceful elections, hence the need to mobilize NYSC members.
The INEC president charged members of the body to be loyal to Nigeria and Nigerians and not to political parties.
He also told them that for no reason should they leave the BVAS in the custody of another, adding that the members of the Corps will be tracked.
Yakubu said: “Nigeria is lucky to have young citizens like you. There is no way INEC can hold elections without NYSC. You are simply indispensable in the conduct of the elections in Nigeria. We cannot run elections with our workforce alone.
“So we have to trust you and other categories of staff. But you are going to operate at the most important level of the electoral system; at the voting unit levels because that is where citizens go to vote. You will all take an oath of neutrality.
“His loyalty is to Nigeria and Nigerians and not to any political party or candidate. You will be the president of the INEC in your voting unit. You are the King in the electoral units.
“You are the only ones who will manage the BVAS at the polling stations on election day. Take this job seriously. We are also tracking it so we can know who has what BVAS. Do not give this BVAS to another person.”
On whether the election will take place amid protests over the naira shortage, the INEC president said: “The protests that are taking place in the country are a security issue. This is an issue that we are going to discuss with the security agencies.
“As you know, we have our own clearly defined role and others have theirs as well. The most important thing is that we are working together and they have assured us that they will ensure the environment for the elections to take place.”
Yakubu stated, “We will basically carry out three activities in this ICC. First, there is a room that will serve as a media center for observers and national and international media organizations. We will also have our own briefing with the observers on Tuesday.
“The other room will serve as the Collation Center for the presidential election and then, next to the room, it will be our Situation Room where we will deploy our platforms; INEC Citizen Contact Center”.