The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is determined not to postpone the 2023 general election at the eleventh hour on account of logistics.
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this at the inauguration of the Electoral Logistics Committee (ELOC) in Abuja at the weekend said the commission was mobilising every national asset including the armed forces and the police and starting the engagement early.
The nation’s electoral body also noted that some of the critical materials for the election had started arriving.
Yakubu said the establishment of the committee was borne out of the commission’s effort to ensure the speedy and safe delivery of huge quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the 2023 general elections.
He said the logistics for the clearance, handling, custody, delivery, and distribution of enormous quantities of election materials is the biggest operation Nigeria undertakes every four years.
For effective coordination, he said the commission believes that every national asset must be mobilised.
For the movement of election materials and protection of personnel nationwide, Section 27(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 empowers the commission to seek the support of the armed forces.
Accordingly, the INEC helmsman said the three armed services (Army, Navy, and Air Force) are members of ELoC. Similarly, the Nigeria Police Force, being the lead agency in election security, is also a member as well as the sister security agencies.
“The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) are also members pursuant to their statutory responsibilities for the clearance and release of materials at seaports and other entry points into the country.
“At our various airports, aviation agencies such as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA) play important roles, including the facilitation of access to all airports nationwide for shuttle services for elections as the need arises.
“So too are the aviation handling companies – Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO)– in the provision of ground facilities for loading and offloading of cargo at airports.”
Furthermore, in 2019, he said some of the flights conveying essential electoral materials could not land at some airports because of poor visibility.
Yakubu said the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) is a member of ELoC to provide expert advice on weather-related issues to facilitate proper and efficient planning and delivery of materials.
He, however, charged the Committee to commence work in earnest.