The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has said he will be meeting with the officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to look into mitigating the effects of petrol scarcity for transportation of electoral materials and officials on election day.
Mr Yakubu disclosed this on Tuesday when he met with the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to finalise the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the transport union in December.
INEC partners the NURTW and Marine Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to ease movement of materials and officials on the election day.
But the commission worries that the shortage of petroleum products being experienced across the country could affect logistical operations on election day.
“The truth is that our arrangements may be negatively affected by the non-availability of products,” he said.
“For this reason, the Commission will this afternoon meet with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to look into ways to ameliorate the situation.
“I wish to assure Nigerians that we will continue to engage every national institution for the success of the 2023 General Election.”
He said Tuesday’s meeting with the executives of the transport workers was to put finishing touches to the implementation of the signed MoU and to conclude on the modalities for the certification of vehicles by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
“The issue of logistics has been a perennial problem in election administration in Nigeria. That is why for three electoral cycles now, INEC has collaborated with the road transport unions to address the problem,” he said.
The plan, he said, is for materials and officials to arrive at the venue of elections before voters and not the other way round. “We believe that this is achievable.”
He said the commission has communicated the specifications of vehicles needed and the locations to the unions.
“Vehicles conveying personnel and materials will not travel long distances. In fact, all movements should be within a state and preferably within local government areas. There should be no inter-state movement.
“I should also remind you that our MoU covers both forward and reverse logistics. This means that there is an obligation to return the personnel and materials to designated locations after the election,” he added.
Mr Yakubu also said the commission is working with security agencies to ensure the safety of drivers and their vehicles as well election officials during the election.
“I cannot conclude my remarks without reminding you of your obligation to neutrality. The work of INEC requires non-partisanship.
“Working in partnership with the commission, you will be required to subscribe to the Oath of Neutrality and to demonstrate your non-partisanship in the work you do on Election Day.”
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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