To ensure seamless preparations for the 2019 General Elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set up two ad hoc committees to drive some important components of the electoral process.
According to the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who gave the details at a briefing held at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja on 3rd January, the first Committee will be responsible for electoral logistics.
Prof. Mahmood said: “The Commission is aware that the conduct of a General Election is the biggest and most complex logistics operation a nation can undertake. Sensitive and non-sensitive materials procured by the Commission must be delivered to almost 200,000 locations nationwide, ranging from the polling units to the various Ward, Local Government, State and the National collation centres for the 1,558 constituencies into which elections will be conducted.
“At the end of the elections, sensitive materials will be retrieved from the same locations. The same process will be repeated for each of the two phases of the 2019 General Elections, namely the Presidential and National Assembly elections holding on 16thFebruary and the Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on 2ndMarch.
“For the 2019 General Elections, the Electoral Logistics Committee will be responsible for coordinating logistics support as well as the clearance and transportation of election materials to various locations nationwide. The Committee includes relevant security agencies whose roles are clearly defined in Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).”
Prof Yakubu said the second ad hoc committee, which he described as“entirely internal” to the Commission, willbe responsible for the national collation centre from where results of the Presidential election will be announced.
The Commission will use the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja, just as it did during the 2015 General Elections.Already, the management of the ICC has approved the Commission’s request to use the venue in 2019. It will serve as boththe secretariat for collatingresults and venue for briefinginternational observers and the media.
It will also be accessible to agents of the 73 political parties fielding candidates in the presidential election. Facilities such as power, access to the internet, live transmission for national and international media as well as accreditation for access to the ICC and security of the venue shall be handled by the Committee.
INEC to Meet With ASUU, NLC
The INEC Chairman also disclosed that the Commission will meet with the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Abuja on Friday 4thJanuary at 4pm.
The purpose of the meeting, Prof Yakubu revealed, “is to discuss the ongoing strike by the Union but only in relation to our preparations for the General Elections.”
He continued:“We are concerned that the bulk of critical election duty staff are drawn from the universities. We are determined to ensure that processes are not affected by the Union’s industrial action. ASUU is a critical partner to the Commission in delivering credible elections. We look forward to the meeting and we are confident of a positive outcome.”
In the same vein, he disclosed that the Commission has alsocontacted the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for a meeting next week. His words:“We are already in partnership with one of its (NLC)affiliate unions, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), with which we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the movement of personnel and materials on election day.”
Members of the Electoral Logistics ad hoc committee include: National Commissioner, retiredAirViceMarshal (AVM)Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu (Chairman),National Commissioner, Engr. Abubakar Nahuche, National Commissioner Malam Mohammed Haruna, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) andNigeria Immigration Service.
Others are: the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps, Department of State Services, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Director, Electoral Operations Department (INEC),Director, Estate Works & Transport,Director, Procurement andDirector Stores, who will also serve as Secretary.
The Collation Committee is made up of: National Commissioner Amina Bala Zakari (Chairman),National Commissioner Prof. Anthonia T. Okoosi-Simbine, National Commissioner Barr. Festus Okoye, Chief Technical Adviser to Hon. Chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, Chief Press Secretary to Hon. Chairman, Rotimi L. Oyekanmi, Director, International Cooperation and Protocol (ICP) Department, Director, ICT Department, Director, EPM Department, Director, Security Department, Director, Planning & Monitoring (P&M)department, Director, Health Services Department, and Director, Commission Secretariat, who will also serve as Secretary.
Responding, the Chairman of the Logistics Committee, AVM Mua’zu assured the Commission and Nigerians of the Committees’ readiness to ensure smooth conduct of the general elections.