From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Ahead of the governorship poll that will hold in Anambra State this weekend, the Federal Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been cautioned against engaging Nigerian graduates, serving the country through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), as ad-hoc staff in the election.
The caution was given by the Senior Elders’ Forum of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), under the leadership of a former national president of the council, Samuel Agbede, during an encounter with newsmen in Ibadan, yesterday.
According to him, engaging the innocent youths, whose parents have invested so much in, is tantamount to exposing them to danger, as the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Federal Government are not on the same page on the conduct of the poll. IPOB said the election should not hold unless their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is freed. Also, the Federal Government insisted that the poll would hold, and has deployed thousands of security personnel to Anambra to ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the election.
Agbede, however, said with the tensed political atmosphere in the state and the crisis witnessed so far, the government should not gamble with the lives of the young graduates, who have so much ahead of them.
“Given the recurring crisis in the South East, especially with the threats of the IPOB, the government and INEC should look elsewhere for competent people without endangering the lives of these youths. It won’t be good to expose them to danger.
“The government knows the atmosphere in Anambra is fraught with danger and insecurity. The parents of these NYSC members have invested so much in them and are waiting to eat the fruits of their labour. So, the government should not use them as disposable items. Exposing them to such danger will be unpardonable if anything goes wrong.
“We wish the government the best of luck. Government is playing propaganda but we all know things are not right. Not all of us believe in propaganda. So, we plead with the government to leave these corp members out of the election.”
Agbede added that since the off-season poll would hold in Anambra State alone this Saturday, the government should try to seek the services of other competent hands to help in the election.