By Ateko Usman-Ejima:
The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu has made a shocking revelation that the electoral body has lost about 85 out of 16,000 staff due to heart attacks and other ailments in 2017 alone.
The revelation was in response to questions from members of Senate Committee on INEC led by Senator Sulaiman Nazif on why the budgetary provisions were made for sick bay at the headquarters of INEC on Abuja.
While defending the 2018 budget, the INEC boss stressed that some of those deaths were recorded within the premises of the Commission as a result of heart attack triggered by high blood pressure.
“Due to the nature of our work our staff work under intense pressure to the point that many of them have no time for routine medical check ups which often lead to high blood pressure and heart attack on some of them while on duty either here in Abuja or at our state offices .
” Intact , last year alone , preponderance of the 85 staffers that we lost died through such circumstances hours or few days after being rushed to hospitals . The reason why we decided to have sick bays in our offices now for preventive measures “, he said .
He added that aside budgetary provisions being made for establishment of sick bays in INEC offices, a total of N9bn has also been set aside in the 2018 budget estimates of the commission for hazard and other allowances for staffers on the field .
He however explained that the total budgetary figure of the commission for the 2019 general election was still being complied .
According to him, the exact figure of amount of money the 2019 general election will cost the commission across the 119,999 polling units in the country can only be arrived at, after the passage of electoral act by the National Assembly .
“It is provisions of the amendment to 2010 electoral act after passage by the National Assembly that will show the commission how elections at primary level by the political parties would be conducted and monetary cost that would entail on the part of INEC , let alone the general elections”, he said .
Meanwhile the Senate Committee on INEC screened additional 8 nominees as Resident Electoral Commissioners .
Those screened and given the clean bill of health were Dr Usman Ajidagba from Kwara State , Baba Yusuf Abba from Borno State, Segun Agbaje from Ekiti State , Yahaya Bello from Nasarawa State, Mohammed Magaji Ibrahim from Gombe state.