Elections: We won’t allow politicians to use us ― ASUU

As Presidential and National Assembly elections hold nationwide tomorrow, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has said they would not allow the politicians to use its members in whatever manner against the lawful performance of their roles as the ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

It will be recalled that some of them will be collation officers at the local government level while some will serve as returning officers at the state level.

The President of the union, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, gave this indication on Friday in an exclusive conversation with Nigerian Tribune, saying the union had advised all members who are participating as electoral officers in one capacity or the other in today’s election and the subsequent one to perform the role strictly as stipulated by the law.

According to him, all members of ASUU who are participants in the elections know that Nigerians as a whole expect much from them.

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“They know that people want us to be a good example and role model. And so we have advised our members to portrait themselves in a good light. We must portray the profession- the academia- we represent in a good light. We cannot afford to fail the nation. We cannot also afford to fail our union. And we strongly believe that our members will not compromise at whatever level. We will not allow ourselves to be bought,” he said.

When asked about likely challenges on the job, he said politicians had in the past held some ASUU members who were INEC ad-hoc staff into ransom, citing 2011 and 2015 general elections as examples.

According to him, some of our members have been threatened in the past. Their lives have been put on the line. In some cases, our members were assaulted. But this time around, we hope and pray that such a scenario would not repeat itself.

Prof Ogunyemi, however, urged the security agents to be alive to their responsibility and the politicians to also conduct themselves in a decent manner as permitted by law while the electorate should equally cooperate with all INEC ad-hoc staff so that we all have elections that are free, fair and credible.

 

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