The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, National Association of Road Transport Owners and Maritime workers
Union of Nigeria for a successful deployment of Electoral Personnel and Materials.
On the occasion in Abuja, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu said the MOU was in realisation of the critical role transportation play in the conduct of elections in the country.
The INEC boss said the 2023 General Election would involve the nationwide deployment of over one million personnel and massive quantities of materials twice within a period of two weeks from INEC State offices to 774 Local Government Areas, 8,809 electoral Wards, and 176,846 polling units across the length and breadth of our country.
Professor Yakubu also said the Commission would require over 100,000 vehicles and about 4,200 boats that would be accompanied by naval gunboats.
“In order to ensure that personnel and materials will be at the polling units on Election Day awaiting the arrival of
voters rather than the other way round, INEC requires large numbers of vehicles, including motorcycles, tricycles, boats and canoes in the riverine areas which cannot be met from its internal resources.”
The INEC boss said that the signing of the MOU, a contractual agreement between and Commission and the actual service provides would be worked out at the State and LGA level between officials of the Unions
and the Resident Electoral Commissioners and Electoral Officers.
He said that the agreement would be legally binding based on the actual breakdown of the number of vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles, boats and canoes per State.
“It is therefore significant that our Resident Electoral Commissioners are present here today to witness the formal signing of the framework that will enable detailed work at State and LGA levels. I am also
glad that the Unions are represented by their national leaders and as many of their zonal and State officials.”
He appealed to the leadership of the Unions to effectively supervise their members in the various chapters and branches for the full Implementation of the MOU.
He also said that the Resident Electoral Commissioners would collaborate with the Federal Regulatory and Safety Agencies to ensure that the objectives of the MOU are fully realised in terms of required road, seaworthiness and safety standards of their vehicles and boats.
“Furthermore, the knowledge of your members of the routes and topography in various parts of the country is important for ease of movement and safe delivery of personnel and materials, especially to areas with difficult terrain.
Professor Yakubu said that everyone involved in election duties must subscribe to the INEC Oath and Affirmation of Neutrality and must strictly adhere to the oath and the INEC Code of Conduct for Electoral Officials.
“The security agencies shall not only be available to escort all vehicles and boats to locations, they will also ensure the safety and protection of all election personnel and materials. As usual, we shall track the movement of all vehicles and boats electronically and in real-time to ensure that election personnel and materials are not hijacked or diverted.”
Responding, the President National Union of Road Transport Workers, Alhaji Tajudeen Baruwa said the MOU was a call to National service.
His Counterpart, the President National Association of Road Transport Owners, Alhaji Lawan Othman who said his Union would abide by the agreement urged INEC to be committed to it.
The President General, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju also pledged to mobilise his members to serve the nation effectively.
In an interview, the Executive Director, the Center for Transparency Advocacy, Faith Nwadishi urged the executives of the various Unions to educate their members at the State and local government levels on what is expected of them for a successful exercise.
Reporting by Ogochukwu Okoronkwo; Editing by Chinasa Ossai