“Once you unionise, politicians are going to use it to disrupt the electoral process. So you should discuss costs and benefits of unionizing”.
Patrick Osadebamwen, Abuja
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega has tasked the staffers of the Commission to weigh the pros and cons of Unionism before they em- bark on such trajectory in the com- mission.
Jega who told the staffers that there was nothing in the enabling laws of the commission that denies the junior staffers from running a union pointed out that the commission may be exposed to political hijack and manoeuvres that may undermine the commission’s role in democratic transition and devel- opment.
Prof. Jega made this observation at a post-election meeting with senior staff of the Commission held at Merit House, Maitama, Abuja.
“No management forms a union, staff are responsible for forming unions and persuade other members to register. Please, nothing in the law stops INEC staff from forming a union.
“Once you unionise, politicians are going to use it to disrupt the electoral process. So you should discuss costs and benefits of un- ionizing”.
Professor Jega, has commended members of staff of INEC across the country for their positive contributions to the successful conduct of the 2015 general elections.
He stressed that staffers of the commission have contributed immensely towards salvaging the image of the Commission with the successful conduct of the election.
He pointed out that majority of the staff who conducted the 2007 general elections and were accused of various complexities, were the same staff used to record the much celebrated victory in the conduct of the 2015 general elections, adding that the leadership of the Commission created the enabling envi- ronment for the staff to contribute to deepening democracy.
He said: “Majority of INEC staff are honest people, decent people and people doing their: best for their country”.
The INEC Chairman regretted that major expectation or aspira- tion of the staff of the Commission has not been satisfied, but stressed that the present Commission has been committed to improving the welfare of staff.
He said: “We all know that the issue of a new salary structure in a country like Nigeria is not only too politicized but it is an issue that successive governments handle like a hot potato.
We tried our best as diplomatically as possible to explore ways and means of introducing a new salary structure. I regret that we have not been able to deliver on that major promise.”
He assured that within the remaining 30 days left for the Commission, all outstanding issues of promotion will be resolved, even as he explained that all promo- tions since he assumed office were done in compliance with the laws and the provisions of the Federal Character Commission.
Prof Jega also lamented the poor communication among depart- ments and called for a change to enhance the job of the Commis- sion. The interactive session also saw the National Commissioners present, proffering solutions to identified challenges.
The meeting provided the opportunity for some members of staff to ventilate their feelings on some policies of the Commission, suggesting ways of improvement.
Other senior members of the Commission present at the meeting were National Co mmissioners, Dr Chris O. Iyi- moga, Dame Gladys Nne Nwafor, Prof Akinola Salau, Ambassador Mohammed Wali, Amina Zakari and the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Augusta Ogakwu