Nigeria: Corps Members Threaten to Boycott Rescheduled Elections

NYSC Corps members
16 February 2019

Sequel to the postponement of Saturday's elections, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members serving in the Federal Capital Territory have threatened to boycott the newly scheduled dates for the elections.

The postponement came as a shock to the corps members who said the development has affected them adversely.

They blamed INEC for failing to 'hint' them of the decision before sending them out to various wards.

The ad-hoc staff also blamed the NYSC for failing to prioritise their health and safety.

Many of them flooded their timelines expressing their displeasure.

A corps member, who wants anonymity so as not to be victimised said "they had earlier gotten rumour" of the postponement and "then started to monitor INEC Twitter handle up until the INEC chairman made a press conference".

He said some of them arrived their wards of posting at 2:22 am and after 30 minutes had to leave.

"INEC had NYSC ad-hoc staff sleep inside and around primary schools in an unsafe and unsanitary condition, no bed, no mosquito net, no security, just a sudden postponement of the 2019 General elections," he complained.

At Life Camp, Kabusa and GSS Nyanya, corps members who spoke with the reporter demanded their feeding and transport allowances which were later given to them after much pressure.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu announced on Saturday that the election as scheduled is no longer feasible due to logistics challenges.

The elections have now been rescheduled to commence in a week. His announcement has been greeted by criticism by individuals and groups.

Suppressed aggression

In one of their WhatsApp Chat groups, the aggrieved corps members said there are 'plans' to start a movement #ServingButNotSlaves "to send a message to the authorities".

According to one of them "if only corps members will unite together and start a movement, decide generally not to show up for the elections again, probably INEC would try and treat us like humans".

Another responded: "I feel disrespected and disregarded by this inhuman treatment. INEC officials and security agents left the RAC without any notice. I don't mind leading a protest on this note; we slept under harsh conditions with very porous security. So they think we are fools?"

"The sad thing about this country is that the youths don't have one voice. With the way corps members were treated yesterday, a bold statement from the youths would be 'we're not getting involved in coordinating anything, we're just going to cast our votes," another commented.

On Twitter, more comments flooded:

"@TosinOlugbenga I expect NYSC to condemn this nonsense and do better in the future by engaging INEC about the welfare of the corpers. Be assure provisions were made for accommodation and their feeding".

@williamlipede This is totally unacceptable. Shouldn't @inecnigeria and @nysc worked out the logistics for accommodation? It began the question-what @inecnigeria been preparing for since 2015? Whether or not it's an isolated event, it still isn't acceptable.

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