The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday inaugurated two ad hoc committees as part of its preparations for the forthcoming 2019 general election.
The two committees, Electoral Logistics and Collation Centre, were inaugurated by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
The Electoral Logistics Committee is chaired by INEC National Commissioner, retired Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Mu’azu, with INEC Director of Stores as Secretary.
The committee on Collation Centre is chaired by another National Commissioner, Amina Zakari, and INEC Director, Commission’s Secretariat as Secretary.
While inaugurating the two committees, the INEC chairman said it was another step in the commission’s determination to ensure seamless preparations for the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu said the Electoral Logistics Committee would be responsible for coordinating logistics as well as the clearance and transportation of electoral materials to various locations nationwide.
He said: “The first committee is responsible for electoral logistics.
“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 wards, local governments, states 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 February 16 and the Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory on March 2.”
Yakubu said the Committee on National Collation Centre, which was entirely internal to the commission, would be responsible for the national collation centre from where results of the Presidential election would be announced.
He said: “As was the case in 2015, the commission will use the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
“Already, the management of the ICC has approved the commission’s request to once again use the venue in 2019.
“It will serve as the secretariat for collation of results and venue for briefing of international 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.”
Yakubu assured Nigerians that “the commission is on course to deliver credible elections in 2019”.
He also noted that the commission would meet with the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Friday at 4pm in Abuja, to discuss the ongoing strike by the union in relation to INEC preparations for the general election.
He said: “We are concerned that the bulk of critical election duty staff are drawn from the universities.
“We are determined to ensure that the 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.”
Yakubu said that INEC had contacted the Nigeria Labour Congress as the commission was already in partnership with one of its affiliate unions, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
“The Commission plans to meet with the NLC next week,” he said.
The INEC boss also listed members of the Logistics Committee to include National Commissioners Abubakar Lamuche and Malam Muhammed Haruna, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Road Safety Corps and the Nigeria Police Force.
It also includes the Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, INEC Director of Electoral Operations and Logistics Department, INEC Director of Estate Works and Transport and INEC Director of Procurement.
Responding, the Chairman of the Electoral Logistics Committee, Mu’azu, pledged that they would deliver the responsibilities with all sense of diligence.
He said: “The committee will do whatever needs to be done to guarantee a seamless delivery of men and materials to the right place at the right time and in the right quantity and of course, guarantee retrieval of same after the two elections.
“I want to also assure you that we appreciate and very clear in our minds the gravity of what is on our hands.
“Therefore, we shall hit the ground running.”