Pulse Opinion: Paying Corp members N26,000 to sleep on the floor is the worst punishment INEC can give anyone

Paying Corp members N26,000 to sleep on the floor, is the worst punishment INEC can give anyone

NYSC members face harsh conditions in their various places of deployment (Punch)

These young men and women had been recruited as ad hoc staff for the elections. But there was no provision for accommodation or decent lodging, feeding and transportation for them, even though INEC had a N189billion budget for the elections.

As members of the electoral commission sat huddled in an air-conditioned meeting room to decide whether to postpone the vote or not, the corp members were swatting and kicking at mosquitoes and flies in filthy apartments.

I have been speaking to some of the affected corp members, most of whom still sound psychologically scarred and traumatized from the ordeal. They tell me that they will be paid a miserly N26,000 for serving as ad hoc staff during the federal and state elections holding on two separate weekends. They tell me that when news of the postponement of the elections broke, INEC abandoned them to their fates and left them sprawled all over the place. They tell me that no one came forward to hand them transport allowances back to their homes.

I have read reports of female corp members getting raped out in the open; on the eve of the postponed election.

I have covered a few elections where youth corp members were the first line of attack for election riggers and ballot box snatchers. There have been reports of youth corpers being beaten—sometimes to death—by partisan thugs who considered the young school graduates an impediment.

We owe all the youth corps members who were treated so shabbily by INEC last weekend, an unreserved apology. Yet, those sorry pictures we saw are only but a metaphor for how badly we treat young people in this country. This country, it appears, cannot change what it has become.

Here’s my advice to all the youth corpers who have been recruited for the February 23 and March 9, 2019 elections: walk away if they treat you like dogs because of N26,000. This country doesn’t deserve your sacrifice. One bit.

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