The Chairman, Independent National Electroal Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu yesterday visited the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao to solicit the support of the Service in deploying personnel and airlifting election materials to areas affected by insecurity across the country.
He said on February 25th and March 11, 2023, the Commission would deploy personnel and materials to about 190,000 voting and collation locations nationwide for 1,491 executive and legislative offices across Nigeria.
He said the 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.
Yakubu made these known in his speech during visit to Amao in his office in Abuja.
“The INEC Chairman noted that, in keeping with the long tradition of collaboration with the Commission, the Air Force served on the Electoral Logistics Committee ahead of the 2019 General Election.
“Beyond logistics support, the Air Force has also deployed its assets to provide security during off-cycle elections, especially in areas of difficult terrain.
“The neutrality and professionalism of the Air Force are immensely appreciated by the Commission. No doubt, our collaboration has been of tremendous benefit to the electoral process and the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.
“Election constitutes the most extensive mobilisation and complex logistics operations that could happen in a country in peacetime.
“On 25th February and 11thMarch 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.
“In handling such a huge national assignment, the Commission cannot do it alone as national asset must be mobilised,” he said.
According to him, it was in realisation of these that the law empowers the Commission to seek the support of the security agencies in general and the Armed Forces in particular in delivering materials for election and the protection of election officials. Section 27(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 specifically provides as follows:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law and for the purpose of securing the vote, the Commission shall be responsible for requesting for the deployment of relevant security personnel necessary for elections or registration of voters and shall assign them in the manner determined by the Commission in consultation with the relevant security agencies;
“Provided that the Commission shall only request for the deployment of the Nigerian Armed Forces for the purpose of securing the distribution and delivery of election materials and protection of election officials.”
In his response, Amao commended INEC, adding that there had been serious advancement and improvement of electoral processes in Nigeria since Yakubu took over leadership.
He promised to give INEC necessary NAF support and coordination in airlifting all the election materials, logistics including staff coming up in Nigeria to any parts of remote areas of any State to ensure hitch free, inclusive and fair election.
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