The Ondo State director of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Grace Akpabio, has insisted that members of the corps who would serve as ad-hoc staff in the coming Ondo State governorship election, would not be posted to coastal communities.
The election holds on October 10, with the All Progressives Congress’ candidate and incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party and Agboola Ajayi, the incumbent deputy governor and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, as front runners.
Mrs Akpabio, who spoke at the inter-agency consultative committee on election security meeting with the chairperson of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu and other stakeholders at a meeting in Akure on Friday, said the reason for this is the rate of insecurity in the area.
But Mr Yakubu assured the NYSC boss in the state that INEC would ensure that corps members participating as adhoc staff during the election would be adequately protected.
He said that the success recorded during the recently held election in Edo State was an indication that the commission was improving on its operation in all ramifications and could not afford to lower the bar come October 10.
“NYSC is one of our principal partners at ensuring that we have credible, free, fair and generally acceptable elections and we shall do all things legally possible to make sure that their participation is not in any way jeopardized,” said Mr Yakubu.
He also expressed the readiness of the commission to conduct another successful election in Ondo State, adding that all hands must remain on deck to leverage on the Edo experience.
Mrs Akpabio informed the stakeholders that the members of the service corps had been sensitised on the roles expected of them during the election.
She also used the occasion to charge corps members to give their best to the nation and be transparent in their conduct during the election, and be good ambassadors of the NYSC.
The commissioner of police in Ondo State, Bolaji Salami, who also attended the meeting, allayed the fears expressed by the NYSC management and disclosed that the corps members would receive the best from the security personnel deployed for the election.
Successive elections in the riverine communities in Ondo State had seen electoral officers and materials attacked by hoodlums.
In the last governorship election in 2016, the areas, particularly Ese Odo local government, witnessed several cases of election disruption by gun-wielding thugs, who carted away materials and disappeared into the creeks.
In the last local council elections, the same situation was reported, where voting materials were carted away by hoodlums loyal to the contending political parties, leaving electoral officers stranded in areas largely surrounded by the sea with a lack of access roads.