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INEC Seeks NAF’s Assistance for Effective Delivery of Election Materials

Hon. Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (right), and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Alao, during the former's courtesy visit to the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) headquarters, Abuja on 8th June 2022. PHOTO; BASIL NWAGUGU.

By Nathaniel Gana

8th June 2022

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has sought the Nigerian Air Force’s (NAF) assistance in handling the delivery of outstanding election materials for the Ekiti and Osun States Governorship Elections, scheduled for June and July respectively.

At the same time, the Commission also put the NAF on notice that the two entities would need to work together for the successful conduct of the 2023 General Election.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who tabled the request during a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao at the NAF headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday 8thJune, also described the 2023 General Election as a huge national assignment for which every national asset must be mobilised.

He said: “Election constitutes the most extensive mobilisation and complex logistics operations that could happen in a country in peacetime. On 25th February and 11th March 2023, the Commission will deploy personnel and materials to about 190,000 voting and collation locations nationwide for 1,491 executive and legislative offices across Nigeria. These activities must take place simultaneously, stretching over 923,768kmwithin a space of six voting hours (8.30am – 2.30pm) involving a projected population of 90 million voters.”

Section 27 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022 gives the Commission the power to request for the deployment of relevant security personnel for elections or registration of voters in a manner that it deems fit, in consultation with the security agencies.  

Prof. Yakubu said the purpose of the courtesy visit was to “explore more effective ways of ensuring that, working together as provided by law, we (NAF & INEC) address aspects of the perennial issue of logistics in our elections in which we believe the Air Force has a critical role to play in the movement of materials.”

He added: “There is no time to waste. The 2023 General Election is only 261 days from today. However, the Ekiti State Governorship election is holding in the next 10 days on Saturday 18th June 2022 while the Osun Governorship election holds in 38 days on Saturday 16th July 2022. 

Hon. Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao (centre) and top officials/officers of the Commission and the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), during Prof. Yakubu’s courtesy visit to the NAF headquarters on 8th June 2022.

“We will seek the support of the Air Force in handling the delivery of outstanding election materials to the two States while the Commission bears responsibility for all subsequent deployments within the States to the Local Government Areas and beyond as has been the practice. In doing so, I wish to reassure Nigerians that the Commission will always work together with all stakeholders, particularly agents of political parties and candidates, observers and the media to inspect and accompany the movement of all materials to various locations in a transparent manner.”

In his response, Air Marshal Amao commended INEC for the steady improvement in the electoral process under Prof. Yakubu’s leadership. He said the Air Force, in its social responsibility commitment to INEC, is preparing its transport aircraft to assist the Commission in achieving its set objective. 

He assured that the Air Force would convey electoral materials to designated areas while a bilateral Committee would be set up immediately to look into the Commission’s request.  

National Commissioners, the Secretary to the Commission and other top officials accompanied Prof. Yakubu to the NAF headquarters.