By George Odok/Benson Ezugwu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will train over one million electoral staff and ad-hoc personnel for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Mr Solomon Soyebi, Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute (BEI), made the disclosure on Monday in Calabar.
He stated this during a training workshop for State Training Officers and Assistant State Training Officers on Cascade Training Implementation for 2019 elections.
The workshop was organised by INEC in collaboration with the International Foundation of Electoral System (IFES).
Soyebi explained that 850,000 electoral personnel would be trained as polling unit officials, while 150,000 would consist of Civil Society Organisations and officials of security agencies officials.
‘‘With just about 39 days to the first election and about 53 days to the second one, it is very important that we train our people adequately.
“For the poll officials, we are going to train over 850,000 personnel.
“When you aggregate the Civil Society Organisations and security officials, we will be talking of over one million personnel and each of them has to be trained.
“Today’s training is for the poll officials, who will go back to their states to transmit the training to the ad-hoc staff ahead of the election,’’ he said.
He added that for the first time, the institute was organising a training which would involve the inclusiveness of special groups like the people with disabilities.
“The commission is very friendly with People Living with Disabilities, not just that alone; we are gender sensitive.
‘‘We have special groups and the people with disability are part of them,’’ he added.
Speaking, Dr Frankland Briyai, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Cross River, said the training was designed by the commission to ensure that personnel for the elections were thoroughly trained.
Briyai charged the participants to take the training seriously, to efficiently and effectively implement the cascade training for the 2019 elections in their respective states.
He gave assurance that INEC and security agencies would ensure crisis-free polls in the Feb. 16 and March 2 general elections in the state.
Dr Umar Idris, Acting Director-General of Electoral Institute, said the training would provide a veritable opportunity for all the loose ends to be tightened.
He implored the participants to brace up for the task ahead by being proactive in every step of the training, to ensure that all states were on the same page.
Mr Jake Epelle, Chief Executive Officer of Albino Foundation, said that no true democracy could be achieved without the inclusion of all critical stakeholders in the society into the electoral process.