2019 poll: INEC says it is working on efficient delivery of logistics

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is working on efficient delivery of logistics for the 2019 general elections.

INEC National Commissioner, and Chairman, Election Operations and Logistics, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, disclosed this at a round-table discussion with stakeholders in the transportation sector on efficient logistics delivery for 2019 general elections.

The stakeholders include, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO).

Ibeanu said that over the last couple of months INEC had been reflecting on how to make logistics delivery and operations at general elections more efficient.

He said that in the past few electoral cycles, INEC logistics operations had improved tremendously.

“Indeed in the past two or three months alone elections were conducted- the Anamabra, Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.
“We have been able to improve our commencement time tremendously.
“It has improved from about 80 to 85 per cent in Anambra to close to 90 per cent in Ekiti, and thereafter in Osun, the record that we have showed that it came to about 95 per cent timely opening.
“That clearly shows that our commencement of elections has improved tremendously over the years, but that is not to say that opening of polls is all that is important in logistics.
Logistics especially in election in a country like Nigeria with a voting population of over 80 million voters, 120,000 polling units, one expects that logistics for such national engagement will be very tricky so to say,’’ Ibeanu said.

The National Commissioner said INEC has been considering all possibilities to make logistics deployment more efficient.

“In fact just about three months ago or so, we had the first round of meeting in Lagos on logistics, where we brought together several partners to work with us, to reflect on the challenges of elections’ logistics in Nigeria.

“This round table is a follow up to that Lagos meeting,’’ he said.

Ibeanu said that one of the biggest challenges facing the commission in the past on logistics deployment for elections was transportation as INEC could not mobilise hundreds of vehicles required for elections.

This, according to him had made the commission to depend increasingly on private providers.

“What we have seen over the years is that sometimes, these arrangements worked and at another times they collapsed completely on elections day.

“So we need to reflect deeply to find out exactly what happened, what are the challenges?

“What are the things that made these operations which at the planning stage appeared almost flawless, but on the day of deployment we experience challenges,’’ he said.

Ibeanu urged all participants at the workshop to reflect deeply on the challenges and come up with practical solutions that could be considered in 2019 general elections.

INEC National Commissioner, Mrs Amina Zakari who delivered a paper on electoral logistics and elections: issues and challenges, said that about 80,000 vehicles were required to conduct a one day national election at an estimated modest cost of N5 billion.

Zakari said that a two day election which was the least number of days used by the commission cost about N10 billion.

“This excludes the cost of leasing boats for riverside communities, hiring of helicopters for other areas with insurgency and difficult terrain.

“About one third of the country’s territory is covered by difficult terrain. Moving men and materials to these areas is very challenging and costly and it is required to be done at the same time nationwide,’’ she said.

Zakari said that the commission believed that election administration entails partnership with stakeholders and more especially in the area of election logistics and security.

The National President of NURTW, Alhaji Najeem Yasin, pledged that the association would work with INEC to ensure the success of 2019 general elections.

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