By Chioma Obinagwam
Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said that it is not leaving any stone unturned in making electoral materials available for the 2023 General Elections.
Confiance News gathered from a statement issued by the Commission on Friday.
While inaugurating the Electoral Logistics Committee (ELoC), INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, assured Nigerians that it has strengthened it’s logistics chain to forestall a last minute postponement of elections, usually orchestrated by weakness in logistic chains.
“We are determined that never again should elections be postponed at the eleventh hour on account of logistics. That is why we are mobilising every national asset and starting the engagement early,” he assured.
The statement explained that Electoral Logistics Committee (ELoC) is an ad hoc inter-agency committee established close to a General Election for a specific objective only.
Expatiating, Mahmood noted that (ELoC) is however distinct from the Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC) because the former is ad hoc in nature whereas the later is a standing committee chaired by a National Commissioner.
The chairman stated that in line with Section 27(3) of the Electoral Act 2022, which empowers the Commission to seek for the support of the armed forces. It has enlisted the three armed services (Army, Navy and Air Force) as 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,” he continued.
More so, Mahmood disclosed that INEC has engaged 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.
He added that the aviation handling companies – Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) are not isolated from the ELoC too.
He highlighted the importance of their services in the provision of ground facilities for loading and offloading of cargo at airports.
“Furthermore, in 2019, some of the flights conveying essential electoral materials could not land at some airports because of poor visibility. Accordingly, 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 stated.