Five weeks after the November 21 governorship poll in Kogi State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is yet to pay the Assistant Polling Officers who were deployed across the state for the election.
Vanguard learned that the commission had paid the National Youths Service, NYSC, members that served as Polling Officers during the election, exempting the Assistant Polling Officers. Three polling officers were deployed to each polling units for the election.
Some of the Assistant Polling Officers, who spoke to Vanguard in Ugwalawo, Ofu Local Government Area of the state on condition of anonymity said they are worried about the delay in payment.
One of the officers told our reporters that INEC’s action is tantamount to poor planning and maladministration.
He said: “INEC knew the number of Assistant Polling Officers needed for the Kogi poll and the cost implications. Why can’t they meet their obligations to the officers one month after the election?
“Two things worry me here: Why did they pay the NYSC members their allowances when we did the same work? Are they more important than us? Two, the fact that INEC is not addressing the issue is worrying. In organized climes, they would have come out to address the issue and tell us what is responsible for the payment delay.”
Another person from Kabba/Bunu, who said he served as APO ll, told our reporter that maybe INEC is waiting for them to protest before paying them their allowances.
Hear him: “It is unfortunate that authorities have not learnt to do things right in this country. We put our lives on the line to serve our country by organizing a free and fair election on November 21. But INEC has refused to pay us our allowances. We have begun talking to our colleagues across the state and hopefully, INEC will hear from us soon”, he said.
Efforts at reaching the image maker of the commission in Kogi via his mobile line proved abortive as he was neither picking calls nor replying messages sent to him. The public holiday declared for the yuletide also made it had to track down INEC bigwigs in the state.