ABUJA— Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said it requires over 100,000 vehicles for logistic purposes in the 2019 general elections.
Consequently, the commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with stakeholders in the transportation sector, including Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW; Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, and National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO.
Performing the ceremony, yesterday, in Abuja, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, urged the stakeholders to avoid breaching the MoU, especially at the last minute.
He recalled past instances where hours to the polls, some union members failed to deliver the required number of vehicles, while others hiked their fares, a development that put the commission in a quandary.
Yakubu said: “Learning from the experience of the past, I would like to appeal to unions to ensure that there is no failure on their part, especially when it is too late for the commission to make alternative arrangement or to hike fares and put us in a difficult situation on the eve of elections.
“One of the critical challenges to the conduct of elections in Nigeria is logistics. To deploy personnel and materials from our state offices to 774 local government areas, 8,809 electoral wards and 119,973 polling units is a huge undertaking.
‘’In Nigeria, only INEC undertakes such a huge nationwide deployment and retrieval of personnel and materials twice within a short period of two weeks.
‘’We want to reassure Nigerians that we are determined that all polling units nationwide will open at 8.00hrs. We are determined to give Nigerians a pleasant voting experience in the 2019 general election. We have been working hard to ensure that personnel and materials will be on location awaiting the arrival of voters rather than the other way round.
“In order to achieve this commitment, INEC requires over 100,000 vehicles.”
The logistical requirements are beyond the internal resources of INEC to provide. It is for this reason that the commission has been in partnership with the National Union of Road Transport Workers NURTW for which an MoU was first signed with the union in January 2015.
In another development, the INEC chairman has launched the ‘Framework for Voting by Internally Displaced Persons IDPs’.
The framework is a policy document proposed to guide the conduct of IDP voting operations and bring the IDP communities into the voting net.
The commission said the overarching principle for the framework is her commitment to inclusivity which is consistent with the avoidance of discrimination in the electoral process.
The commission had before the 2015 general elections, pushed for an amendment of the Electoral Act which gave rise to Section 26(1) of the 2015 Electoral Act (as amended).
The section provides that “in the event of an emergency affecting an election, the commission shall, as far as possible, ensure that persons displaced as a result of the emergency are not disenfranchised.”