The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) requires over 100,000 vehicles to transport sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the 2019 general elections, the chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said yesterday.
Yakubu who disclosed this while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) warned the transport workers not to compromise.
The INEC boss said the commission is out to conduct credible elections, adding that those signing the MoU must be committed to delivering efficient logistical support to the Commission in 2019.
Noting that some of the critical challenges to the conduct of elections in Nigeria are logistics, Yakubu observed deploying personnel and materials from states’ offices to the 774 local government areas, 8,809 electoral Wards and 119,973 polling units in the country is a huge task.
“INEC requires over 100,000 vehicles for the 2019 general elections,” Yakubu said, adding that the number is far beyond the commission’s capacity.
He continued: “That is the more reason INEC has been in partnership with NURTW, for which an MoU was first signed with the Union in January 2015. However, with the increase in the number of voters as well as political parties since the last general election, there is need to increase the pool of service providers to meet the consequential increase in the number of vehicles.
“We will also require you to swear to an oath of neutrality as your participation in the delivery of electoral logistics requires absolute neutrality and impartiality. The security agencies shall escort all vehicles to locations. In addition, we shall track the movement of all vehicles electronically and real time as we did in some recent elections.”
Yakubu appealed to the unions to ensure that there is no failure on their part, especially when it is too late for the commission to make alternative arrangement.
He also implored the unions not to hike transport fares and put the commission in a difficult situation on the eve of elections.
The INEC chairman also urged political actors to call their supporters to order, while assuring the unions of the commission’s readiness to continue to work with the security agencies to ensure the safety of their members and the protection of their vehicles.