…Engages Nigerian Air Force for Distribution of Materials …Will Not Store Sensitive Materials with CBN To boost confidence in the credibility of the 2023 general election and be seen to be fair to all interests , the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission has initiated some reforms to be put into operation during the off
…Engages Nigerian Air Force for Distribution of Materials
…Will Not Store Sensitive Materials with CBN
To boost confidence in the credibility of the 2023 general election and be seen to be fair to all interests , the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission has initiated some reforms to be put into operation during the off cycle elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
One of these is INEC’s resolve to no longer store sensitive electoral materials in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Another will be involvement of Nigerian Air Force in handling the delivery of election materials. This will also commence with the delivery of outstanding election materials for the Ekiti and Osun states governorship election by the Nigerian Air Force.
Furthermore, INEC has 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, 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), and described the 2023 General Election as a huge national assignment for which every national asset must be mobilised.
Addressing a symposium tagged, “The Electorate: A Conversation on Elections in Nigeria,” at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, recently, INEC’s Chairman said the CBN would no longer be in charge of election materials beginning with the Ekiti state governorship election. Sensitive materials stored with the CBN during elections include ballot papers, results sheets, and braille ballot guide for visually-impaired persons, among others.
“We are not going to use the CBN for Ekiti elections. The materials will be moved from our headquarters in Abuja to the airport and then to our state office,” Yakubu said at the event.
The development came on the heels of the controversy surrounding the interest of the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, to contest the 2023 presidential election under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). His membership of the party was affirmed by the APC Chairman in his ward in Delta state.
Justifying the involvement of the Air Force, Prof Yakubu 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 923,768km2 within 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.”
“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.