By Ololo Kelvin
Some returning INEC adhoc staff in Cross River State has lamented over poor mobilization upon returning from various places of posting following the postponed general election.
The returnees that expresses their ordeals following the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly election in the State INEC headquarters in Calabar said that provisions in terms of accommodation, transportation feeding and security were poor.
Spelling that the Commission had done nothing to properly safeguard the comfort, safety, and welfare of staffs.
In an interview with this reporter, one of the returnees Mr. George Samuel laments “Where is the transparency, where is the integrity we are talking about that we were supposed to live by? We traveled, look I have to buy banana, I am very hungry for one full day I have not eaten any food. Allot of people that went to Ikom as of the time they left around 12pm the driver dropped them at Ikom and they are stranded. One of my friend had only 200 naira imaging how he is going to come back to calabar with 200naira.”
Another, Francis Ogbang narrated “Starting from the arrangement from INEC Secretariat everything was disorganised, no provision for people that where going to Ikom, we maneuver and get a 18 seaters bus, getting to Ikom at night we where treated as people that where not invited for this event, there was no provision for accommodation, no body to guarantee our security, no feeding, we slept in the INEC veranda not even inside the offices”.
Similar is the plight of Joy Ebimta who was dispatched to Obubra Local Government Area. She said that many persons are still stranded in her words “not even a sachet of water neither was there chairs to sit, most people where sitting on the floor, no mattresses, nothing! We were sitting down all through the night till this morning just for them to tell us that the election is not holding.” She ended as her face grinds.
She added that “no transportation, many people are even stranded there because they don’t have money to come back”.
On the safety of sensitive materials Francis Ogbang said that materials were at risk in Ikom, he inferred “like in Ikom, if there is any sensitive materials in Ikom it is not going to be safe again because as I speak to you as about 5:30 am this morning when we were leaving Ikom no Policeman was there, immediately they had that the election had being cancel everybody left the place, so if there is any sensitive material, I think all the materials are at risk.”
The returnees further called on the INEC to do something about the welfare of the adhoc staff if there is going to be credible, free and fair election.
Reacting to this, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner Dr. Frankland Briyai said the Commission is overwhelmed with desperate applicants who where not genuinely recruited.
He said “when we started the recruitment we sent out text messages to genuine people, but we discovered that even those that don’t pick the application form whether online or offline they came with clone messages, so we where overwhelmed with adhoc staff but God is helping us, we were able to sought it out.
“Some of them are even desperate, their names are not even on the list, they had no text message but they said they must go. They volunteer to hire vehicles for themselves and they left”. He concluded by saying that payment is after the exercise.
As the time of filing this report many were said to had being held down in some LGA while some are still arriving the State INEC headquarters.
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