Fidelis Soriwei and Chukwudi Akasike
Corp members are avoiding to participate in the legislative rerun election scheduled for Saturday in Rivers State.
Investigation revealed that corps members who are being contacted to serve as ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission are refusing to participate in the election because of fear of possible violence during the election.
A source who confided in our correspondent said that the corps members were not showing the usual enthusiasm to participate in the election because of the accusations and counter-accusation between the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike , and INEC.
The source said, “Corps members being contacted by INEC to participate in the Rivers rerun election are showing reluctance to serve in the election.
“A good number of them are afraid that there could be violence during the election, and these are young men and women who don’t want to get killed because of some election.”
When our correspondent contacted the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, he said that it was only the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers that could comment on that.
Reacting, the state REC, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, said the job of corps members was voluntary, adding that those who did not want to work with INEC on election day were free to opt out.
Ikoiwak argued that some of the corps members’ parents might have told them not to take part in the rerun election, adding that such a situation would not affect the exercise on Saturday.
The state REC, however, pointed out that INEC would get more ad hoc workers from other government’s agencies if there was shortage in the number of corps members needed for the job on Saturday.
“From the beginning, the NYSC work is on a voluntary basis. We know that some of them might have been told by their parents not to be part of it (election).
“But if we have problem of shortage of manpower, we will complete them with workers from other government’s agencies and institutions,” he stressed.
Oyekanmi also agreed that most parents would be inclined to discourage their children from participating in the election because of what he described as the inflammatory comments by the Rivers State Government that plans had been perfected to rig the election.