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INEC Reviews 2023 General Election with Electoral Officers, Transport Unions

Cross section of participants at the Commission's meeting with Electoral Officers and Transport Unions to review the 2023 General Election, held in Abuja on Wednesday 19th July.

By Nathaniel Gana

20th July 2023

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 19th July continued its review of the 2023 General Election with a meeting with Electoral Officers from 36 States, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Transport Unions.

The purpose of the meeting, according to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was to identify and address the challenges associated with logistics delivery and other key aspects.

Prof. Yakubu, in his address, said the engagement would provide the opportunity to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses for immediate improvement in forthcoming elections, especially the three off-cycle Governorship elections holding in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States on Saturday 11th November 2023.

To kickstart the election review process, he recalled that the Commission recently met with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and subsequently held State level review meetings nationwide, involving regular staff and ad-hoc officials.

He said: “Today, we commence a more focused engagement at national level with the Commission’s frontline officials, the Electoral Officers (EOs). We also considered it appropriate to interface with transport providers to review logistic arrangements by inviting the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN)”.

He continued: “There is no doubt that the success of any election primarily depends on the ability to deploy personnel and materials to various locations. In Nigeria, this involves the biggest logistic deployment the nation periodically undertakes across vast terrains and often difficult topography.

“This has been a perennial challenge over time, but it is now compounded by issues of infrastructure and insecurity. However, the Commission has to deploy personnel and materials not only for Election Day activities but electoral activities in general, covering the period before, during and after the elections.

“Many of these activities such as the Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR), monitoring of party primaries for the nomination of candidates for the election and the procurement and deployment of sensitive and non-sensitive materials must be accomplished ahead of the election, otherwise critical Election Day processes will be impossible”.

Prof. Yakubu also identified 10 critical thematic areas to be discussed at the meeting, while urging participants to share their wealth of experience during discussions, to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses for immediate improvement in forthcoming elections.

The critical areas include: General State of Preparedness for the 2023 General Election; Voters’ Registration Process and the associated issues of Adequacy of Timing, Display of Voter Register for Claims and Objections, Clean-up of Voter Register, PVC Collection; Recruitment, training, deployment and remuneration of ad hoc staff, including specific issues of mode of recruitment, conduct of training, timing, adequacy, effectiveness and utility of e-learning training platforms; Matters arising from the implementation of the expansion of voter access to Polling Units;

Others include: Receipt and deployment of election materials; Technology deployed during elections, including the various portals for nomination of ad hoc staff, candidates, accreditation of observers, media, polling/collation agents as well as voter registration, accreditation and result management; Election security; Election Day processes with reference – forward logistics in terms of transportation of personnel and delivery of materials to Registration Area Centres (RACs) and Polling Units (PUs), including specific issues of engagement with transport unions and the implementation of State-level obligations; and Reverse logistics and movement of personnel and retrieval of field assets.

Earlier, the Chairman, Planning, Monitoring and Strategic Committee (PMSC) and National Commissioner, Prof. Rhoda H. Gumus, noted that the Commission required the collaboration of the Transport Unions in order to successfully carry out nationwide deployment of both personnel and quantity of materials to the State offices, Local Government Areas, Wards, and polling Units, across the length and breadth of the country due to the huge number of vehicles and boats required.

She said “the Commission therefore expects the leadership of the unions to effectively supervise their members in the various branches and chapters for the full implementation of the memorandum of Uunderstanding (MoU) signed between INEC and the Unions.

Prof. Gumus also implored participants at the meeting to share experience, with regard to challenges encountered and suggest ways to resolve same. “Your key recommendations of this review exercise will enhance deployment and reverse logistics in our electoral operations”, she said.