Home 2019-Elections Election Postponement: NYSC Members Recount Their Ordeal

Election Postponement: NYSC Members Recount Their Ordeal

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SOME members of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put adequate logistics in place, ahead of Saturday’s elections.

The Corps members lamented lack of security, inadequate transportation and poor communication channel between them and the INEC officials.

They noted that they slept in the open fields, on bare floor and benches with election materials without security presence before the commission announced the elections’ rescheduling.

It was gathered that in some of the schools, the NYSC members were posted to, the schools’ gatemen were not aware they were coming. It was also learnt that the corps members were alone in most of the schools overnight without policemen to provide security.

Many of the Corps members also lamented that they were at least expecting dinner to be served, mattresses and mosquito nets from INEC because they were told that they would be taken care of, but they got nothing.

A Corps member, Princess Ukaps, told The Nation that she and some of her colleagues were at the INEC office around 4pm last Friday. She said they were there to check the names of their polling units and supervisors.

“After waiting endlessly, we moved to the primary school we were posted to and we got there few minutes to 9pm. We were there hoping that INEC officials would come and address us. We also hoped they would give us food, mattresses and may be mosquito nets because we were told that we would be taken care of.

“To our surprise, we waited endlessly and later went to look for food and drinks. I had to take my bath at the back of one of the classrooms in the school that night, because I can never sleep without taking my bath. It was one woman in the school that gave me bucket and water. I slept on a bench in one of the classrooms, but mosquitoes bite me seriously. Some slept on the floor in the classrooms. I learnt that at some other schools, the gatemen did not open the gates for the corps members and many had to sleep inside buses and on the floor on the road sides. The experience was pathetic.”

Ukaps added that around 1a.m., some policemen came to the school with the election papers and were already bringing them out of the vehicle.

She noted that after some of the corps members learnt that the elections were cancelled around 2a.m., the police immediately packed the materials and left the school before 3a.m.

Ukaps added that even though she had a negative experience, she would still be available for the elections whenever INEC is ready.

Another Corps member, who simply identified himself as Chinedu, who was attached to a local government on the Lagos Mainland, said the way many of them were treated last Friday was inhuman and uncalled for.

“INEC made us feel less of a human being. We were left to sleep in an open space and no one catered for us; no one communicated with us. When I and some of my friends got to the primary school we were posted to, we were expecting some of the INEC officials to come to the school for our final training. They told us at the previous trainings they had with us that they were would come to our polling units to give us final training on the election materials, card readers and all, but no one showed up. We all slept in an open space.

“I am currently not feeling fine because of the cold I was exposed to and I am on treatment. Mosquitoes also bite me like seriously.”

Chinedu lamented that he saw no security official in the school compound.

“At a point, in the middle of the night, we heard footsteps, everybody ran away. I also ran and that there was no one there to actually secure us,” he said.

He said many of them could not leave the school when they discovered around 2a.m. that the elections were already rescheduled.

“If I am to tell you, I will not go to the polling unit next week or any other election, because INEC did not treat us the way they should treat us. Should I die because I am serving Nigeria? May be they should increase the compensation they give to corps members during elections, probably that will motivate more people to participate. But left to me, compensation or no compensation, I will not be part of it again. Imagine what will have happened if any corps member had asthmatic attack in the open space we all slept, all because we are serving our country,” he said.

Another Corps member, who craved anonymity, said she was posted to a primary school on Lagos Island and her experience was not different from others.

 

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