The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it shares the concerns of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) over worsening fuel crisis and its impact on transportation on Election Day.
To this end, the commission said it was to engage with the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Tuesday afternoon to look into ways to ameliorate the situation.
INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu who stated this in Abuja, Tuesday at a consultative meeting with the NURTW, assured Nigerians that the commission would continue to engage every national institution for the success of the 2023 general elections.
According to INEC chairman, “the purpose of meeting with transport workers is to put finishing touches to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the commission and the union about two months ago on 20th December 2022.”
He said the second reason was “to conclude on the modalities for the certification of vehicles by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in the light of the emphasis we place on the safety of election personnel and materials.”
Prof Yakubu further said: “The issue of logistics has been a perennial problem in election administration in Nigeria. That is why for three electoral cycles now; INEC has collaborated with the road transport unions to address the problem.
“For the 2023 General Election, the Commission has included the Marine Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) for efficient maritime transportation.
“The commission is aware that this is an enormous task. Election is the largest deployment a nation periodically undertakes and mobilisation of vehicles for election is a large and complex exercise. However, this comes only once in four years. What is critical here is forward planning.
“We have presented to the Union the number and specifications of the vehicles required for the election. We have also indicated to you the locations where the vehicles are needed. Happily, your members are spread across the country.
“Therefore, vehicles conveying personnel and materials will not travel long distances. In fact, all movements should be within a State and preferably within Local Government Areas.
“There should be no inter-State movement. I should also remind you that our MoU covers both forward and reverse logistics. This means that there is an obligation to return the personnel and materials to designated locations after the election.
“We also ensured that your union was represented in our Situation Room to coordinate the deployment of vehicles and the security of drivers. We will ensure that a similar arrangement is made nationwide for the general election.
“The commission shares your concern about the fuel situation in the country and its impact on transportation on Election Day. The truth is that our arrangements may be negatively affected by the non-availability of products.”
The President of NURTW, Chief Tajudeen Baruwa promised that his members would not disappoint Nigerians in the discharge of election duties.
Also speaking, the representative of the Corps Marshal FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, said the checklist of the vehicles would be done two weeks before the elections instead of two days to the election to ensure minimum safety standards. He called on the union to cooperate with the FRSC.