The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has cautioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against using N-power personnel as ad-hoc staff for the conduct of the forthcoming general elections.
But INEC says they are not planning to use N-power personnel for the elections.
The N-power is an intervention job-creation programme of the federal government. Thousands of young Nigerians across the nations are said to have been either trained for employment or employed directly by the federal government through the scheme.
“I hear INEC wants to use N-power personnel as Ad-hoc Staff for the elections. This is a ploy to rig the elections,” Mr Wike said on Monday at a political rally in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“N-power personnel will not be allowed to serve as INEC Ad-Hoc Staff in Rivers State. If you bring them, we will chase them away.”
Mr Wike, who accused President Muhammadu Buhari of initiating “mass unemployment” in the country, said all Nigerians should share in the blame because of “allowing a man without knowledge of the economy to emerge as president”.
“We took our future and mandate and handed over to people who don’t understand job creation,” he said.
The governor urged Nigerians to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, whom he said understands the Nigerian economy and has the ability to create jobs.
“All his life, Atiku Abubakar has been involved in job creation,” the governor said. “He is one of the highest employers of labour in Nigeria.”
When contacted on Tuesday, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the spokesperson to the INEC chairman, told PREMIUM TIMES denied Mr Wike’s claims of the commission using N-power personnel for the conduct of the elections.
“Those who are spreading this rumour, I don’t know where they got their information from. We are not using N-power people at all,2 Mr Oyekanmi said.
“If you go to our social media platforms, the template for the requirement for anyone recruited to serve as ad-hoc staff of INEC is there.
“The people we use as ad-hoc staff are members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and staff of federal universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. And the staff coming from the universities have to be vetted by the vice chancellor of those universities. We also carry out our own vetting,” Mr Oyekanmi said.
Mr Wike, who is seeking a second term as governor of Rivers, is one of the critics of Mr Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).