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The big task for the new INEC chairman

Posted by BASSEY EKANEM on 2005/07/11 | Views: 244 |

The big task for the new INEC chairman


THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a Federal Government Commission operating within the Federal Civil Service rules.

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a Federal Government Commission operating within the Federal Civil Service rules. The leadership of the commission is changed after every five years. Recently, a new chairman of the commission was appointed following the expiration of Dr. Abel Guobadia’s tenure.

Ostensibly, the whole nation has known that Prof. Maurice Iwu is the new chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He has smoothly succeeded Dr. Guobadia, having served as a national commissioner under him. For this single reason, therefore, the nation is full of positive expectations that Prof. Iwu, must have garnered enough experience in the functions of the commission.

The INEC inter alia, is statutorily saddled with the stupendous responsibility of giving the nation an authentic and credible voters’ register which is the beginning of actual elections. It also has the tasking duty to conduct elections devoid of all electoral malpractices. There is no doubt that Prof. Iwu, the new chairman would engrave his name in gold by turning round the intrinsic of the commission, to good fortunes.

Apart from voters’ registration and the conduct of elections, the (INEC), by the law establishing it has to midwife all the thirty political parties in the country. The other very important task that Prof. Iwu has to confront head-on is the nagging issues of over-centralisation of most of its activities e.g. stores. Purchase of most petty items of stores like pencils, erasers, gum, cellotapes, etc. by INEC headquarters, Abuja for distribution to the commission in the 36 states and Abuja at a very great transport cost, is to say the least, unwholesome. This act of omission or commission is more disturbing during national exercises like registration of voters and actual elections. This dirty act has persisted since the time of Prof. Humphrey Nwosu who created this bad precedent.

Such small electoral items abound in all states of the federation. We are very hopeful that Prof. Iwu will take the bull by its horn, by reversing this ugly and obnoxious practice.

Another very disturbing practice in the commission is the question of lack of welfare to staff of the commission. A peep into this aspect of the commission will overtly show a dismal situation. It is, indeed very disheartening and frustrating for most staff of the commission, both junior and senior to be left on one salary grade level for over 10 years, without any promotion to the next higher salary grade level. How frustrating when the staff have been performing their statutory duties creditably. It is noteworthy to mention here that it is clearly stipulated in the commission’s staff regulations that every performing staff would serve for two to three to four years, depending on one’s grade level, before earning promotion to the next higher salary grade level. This is only on paper and not in practice in the commission.

It is positively hoped that, without further delay, the new INEC helmsman Prof. Iwu is going to address the issue of staff promotion which has a very serious backlog. This will apparently give the staff of INEC a sense of belonging and boost their performance otherwise, the performance of the staff will reach its lowest ebb and highest frustration. Giving staff the incentives will prepare them well for the great task ahead. Lack of incentives definitely engenders demoralisation and frustration and deadens interest in work performance.These are some of the very urgent issues the new INEC boss must address while the on-going Political Reform Conference will address the rest. • Ekanem was a staff of INEC


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