The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has once again solicited the support of Transport Unions on the delivery of it’s personnel and materials for a successful 2023 General Election.
The Transport Unions Include the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners(NARTO) and the newly added Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria(MWUN).
Speaking on Tuesday, at a Sensitization Meeting on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between INEC and the transport unions on 2023 General Election, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said the meeting was to put finishing touches to the issue of effective logistics ahead of Election Day.
“I am glad to note that this meeting seeks to achieve two objectives. First 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. Secondly, 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,’ the INEC Chairman said.
He further spelt out the terms of the MOU. “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”.
Yakubu assured that the Commission was working with the security agencies to ensure the safety of the union members and their vehicles during the election, adding that INEC will also meet with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to look into ways to ameliorate the issue of fuel scarcity that may affect their smooth operation on election day.
The INEC Boss however warned members of the transport unions to remain non-partisan and neutral in their collaboration with the Commission on forthcoming general election. “I cannot conclude my remarks without reminding you of your obligation to neutrality.
“The work of INEC requires non-partisanship. Working in partnership with the Commission, you will be required to subscribe to the Oath of Neutrality and to demonstrate your non-partisanship in the work you do on Election Day.
Earlier, the President, NURTW, Tajudeen Baruwa charged it’s members to take the MOU seriously, while assuring INEC of the union’s commitment to carry out the duties assigned to it’s members effIciently.
The Resident Representative, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung(FES), Nigeria, Daniel Mann who acknowledged that INEC was determined to conduct a credible election, challenged the leadership of the transport unions to ensure the implementation of all agreements reached, so as to achieve the much desired outcome in the 2023 general election.
For his part, the representative of the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Bisi Kazeem called on all the Union leaders to corporate with the corps on approved checklist for minimum safety standards requirement for the certification of all vehicles to be deployed for the election.
Giving an overview of the MOU, INEC Chairman’s Chief Technical Adviser, Prof Bolade Eyinla, said the Commission is set to deploy over 100,000 vehicles and 4,000 boats to move personnel and electoral materials to 176,846 polling units in the forthcoming 2023 General Election.