Nigerians have been reassured by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the general elections in 2023 won’t be postponed due to logistical difficulties.
At the inauguration of the Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC) on Friday in Abuja, INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu provided the assurance.
Due to logistical and operational issues, the commission had to postpone the general elections in 2019. The panel consistently assured Nigerians and foreign observers that it was prepared for the elections before announcing the startling decision only hours before voting opened.
Many Nigerians criticized the delay, particularly its timing, and charged the commission with being insensitive. Speaking on Friday, however, Yakubu stated that the commission was committed to making sure that a similar situation never happened again.
Yakubu stated that the committee’s 27-point Duties and Functions are divided into 9-point Terms of Reference.
Yakubu claimed that the Commission’s efforts to assure the quick and secure distribution of massive amounts of sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the 2023 general elections led to the creation of the Committee.
He claims that the largest operation Nigeria carries out every four years is the logistics for the clearance, handling, custody, delivery, and distribution of massive amounts of election materials.
According to him, the Commission thinks that every national asset needs to be mobilized for effective coordination.
He added that Section 27(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 authorizes the Commission to seek the cooperation of the armed forces for the movement of election materials and the protection of personnel across the country. Therefore, the three branches of the armed forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force) are ELoC members. Similarly to this, the sister security agencies and the Nigeria Police Force, which is the central organization in charge of election security, are both members.
According to their statutory obligations for the clearance and release of materials at seaports and other entry points into the nation, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) are also members.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA) all play significant responsibilities at our airports, including facilitating access to all airports nationwide for shuttle services during elections when needed. The provision of ground facilities for the loading and unloading of goods at airports is also a responsibility of the aviation handling businesses Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO).
Additionally, due to low visibility in 2019, several of the flights carrying crucial election materials were unable to arrive at some airports. As a result, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) is a member of ELoC and offers professional guidance on weather-related issues to support effective and proper planning and material delivery.