The Taxpayers Association of Nigeria (TAPAN), an Umbrella body of taxpayers were approached by the ad-hoc staff that worked in the Presidential and National Assembly elections of 16th February, 2019 who were not paid their stipends as stipulated. Few days from now will be 16th of February 2020 which is exactly one year these youth play their role in this engagement and up till now INEC is yet to play its own part of the bargain in giving them their entitlement. However, the core values of TAPAN as an association amongst others is to ensure that taxpayers’ money are duly appropriated and expended for this purpose.
During the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) whose function is to conduct elections as the electoral umpire of the nation recruited ad-hoc staff who help in the said election to coordinate all the Polling Units across the nation for the Presidential and National Assembly elections. The ad-hoc staff included both ex-corps members and serving corps members.
Also, there were 119, 973 (One Hundred and Ninety Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Three) Polling Units across the nation and each Polling Units was coordinated by 4 (four) officials; one serving Corp member and three Ex-corp members making it a total of 479,892 (Four Hundred and Seventy-Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Ninety-Two) ad-hoc staff engaged in this process.
As a prelude towards the said elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) organized a training for all the ad-hoc staff which lasted for two days and the ad-hoc staff for the said elections were entitled to N8,000.00 (Eight Thousand Naira) only which is to cover their logistics. At the end of the induction course, even-though the said amount was appropriated, was never paid to them including the sum of N15, 000.00 (Fifteen Thousand Naira) for coordinating the Polling Units for the said elections.
The entire ad-hoc staff mobilized to their various areas of primary assignments ready for the job, when at about 3:00 am on the election day, and about four hours to opening of the polls, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu came on air and called for the postponement of the elections with reasons best known to him. Till date the ad-hoc staff have not been paid.
“Gentlemen of the press, the youth of this country have become endangered species, not only do they roam the street seeking for jobs but the ones done for the country entirely are yet to be paid. We need not to add that money for the exercise was duly appropriated by the National Assembly from taxpayers’ money, hence our involvement in this matter so therefore, TAPAN insist that Prof. Mahmood must resign with immediate effect and handover himself to the appropriate authorities for misappropriation of taxpayers’ money, breach of trust, rape of justice. And lack of administrative mastery and finesse.” Said Comr. Obinna Okafor, the president of Taxpayers’ Association of Nigeria (TAPAN)
“Public office is not for everybody, gentlemen of the press may I state emphatically without fear or contradiction that Taxpayers Association of Nigeria had once written to the Vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (GCON) and our letter was replied within 14 (fourteen) working days, it shows efficient service delivery in public office, whereas we wrote 3 (three) different letters to INEC, two (2) from our attorney and one (1) from Taxpayers Association of Nigeria concerning this subject matter, yet, it was treated with reckless abandon and unheeded up-till today.” Said the TAPAN President, Comr. Obinna Okafor
According to Comr. Obinna Okafor, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has failed to
understand that his activities as INEC chairman is predicated on Taxpayer’s money, yet he lacks capacity in simple administrative matters. He also lamented that INEC agreed with TAPAN that they are aware that some of their Ad-hoc staff died in the course of this assignment, some were raped, valuable items such as phone and money were forcefully taken by the village miscreants due to poor accommodation, yet nothing has been done as supposed.
Therefore, the Taxpayers Association of Nigeria (TAPAN) call on the attention of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, President. Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to kindly intervene urgently to this clarion call in order to restore confidence and trust of Nigerian youths, by ensuring that these INEC Ad-hoc staff are paid immediately and demands that Prof. Mahmood Yakubu step down with immediate effect.
“Mr. President, your name will be written in gold and chronicled as a listening president who has pacified fate of almost 500,000.00 (five hundred thousand) youths.” Said Comr. Obinna Okafor, the TAPAN President.
Conclusively, TAPAN has done her best to hold down the INEC Ad-hoc staff for so long believing that this commission will be reasonable enough to do the needful but from their survey as an organization they are made to understand that INEC body language is an invitation to nationwide protest that will not likely end until Prof. Mahmood steps down. We are all aware that almost 500,000.00 (five hundred thousand) youth are involved in this case, it is obvious that the outcome of the protest is better imagined than experienced and we hope INEC responds positively on this matter.