Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said the commission will need 100,000 vehicles and 4,200 boats to distribute election materials across the 176,846 polling units for the 2023 general election.
The chairman said the boats would be accompanied by Navy gunboats to ensure safety of the materials and its personnel.
Yakubu spoke at the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between INEC and the Road Transport and Marine Workers’ Unions yesterday in Abuja.
He said: “The signing of a revised MoU with the road and marine transport unions today is a demonstration of our determination to implement key recommendations of the review exercise in order to enhance forward and reverse logistics in our electoral operations.
“The 2023 general election will involve the nationwide deployment of over 1 million personnel and massive quantities of materials twice within a period of two weeks from our state offices to 774 local government areas, 8,809 electoral wards and 176,846 polling units across the length and breadth of our country. It will require over 100,000 vehicles and about 4,200 boats that will be accompanied by naval gunboats.
“This is a huge undertaking that must be accomplished in the next 66 days and we are resolute in doing so to give Nigerians a pleasant voting experience.
“Let me assure Nigerians that we are determined that all polling units nationwide will open at 8.30 a.m on Saturday, February 25, 2023, for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and on Saturday, March 11, 2023, for the governorship and State House of Assembly elections.”
He added: “In order to ensure that personnel and materials will be at the polling units on Election Day awaiting the arrival of voters, rather than the other way round, INEC requires large numbers of vehicles, including motorcycles, tricycles, boats and canoes in the riverine areas which cannot be met from its internal resources. It was for this reason that the commission signed the first MoU with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in January 2015.
“In order to expand the pool of our service providers to meet the requirement for the increasing number of vehicles, the MoU was reviewed in December 2018 to incorporate Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO). Over the years, the commission has come to rely on the partnership with the NURTW and NARTO to provide vehicles for the successful deployment of electoral personnel and materials.
“However, we did not incorporate the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) within the ambit of the MoU, a situation which has often resulted in logistics nightmare in the deployment and retrieval of personnel and materials to the riverine areas of the country. This oversight is now addressed by the revised MoU to include MWUN comprising sailors, dockworkers and those in related trades in our electoral logistics planning and delivery.