INEC yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the road transportation and marine workers’ unions to facilitate efficient and successful logistics delivery for 2023 general elections.
The unions include the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the signing ceremony, said that the commission would require 100,000 vehicles and about 4,200 boats for the general elections.
“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 to enhance forward and reverse logistics in our electoral operations.
“The 2023 General Elections will involve the nationwide deployment of over one 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.”
Yakubu assured Nigerians that INEC was determined that all polling units nationwide would open at 8.30 a.m. on February 25, 2023 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and on March 11, 2023 for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
Yakubu said that in order to ensure that personnel and materials arrived polling units before voters on election day, INEC required large numbers of vehicles, including motorcycles, tricycles, boats and canoes in the riverine areas which could not be met from its internal resources.
Yakubu recalled that INEC signed the first MoU with the NURTW in January 2015, reviewed it in December 2018 to incorporate NARTO, but did not incorporate the MWUN within the ambit of the MoU.
The situation, according to him, 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 of sailors, dockworkers and those in related trades in our electoral logistics planning and delivery.”
Yakubu advised leadership of the unions to effectively supervise their members in the various chapters and branches for the full implementation of the MoU.
He charged them to work very closely with INEC and collaborate with the Federal Regulatory and Safety Agencies to ensure that the objectives of the MoU were fully realised in terms of required road/sea worthiness and safety standards of your vehicles and boats.
He said that the new MoU required that all the union members involved in election duties swore and abide by INEC Oath/Affirmation of Neutrality and the INEC Code of Conduct for Electoral Officials as their participation in the delivery of electoral logistics required absolute neutrality and non-partisanship.
“The security agencies shall not only be available to escort all vehicles and boats to locations, they will also ensure the safety and protection of all election personnel and materials.
“As usual, we shall track the movement of all vehicles and boats electronically and in real time to ensure that election personnel and materials are not hijacked or diverted.
“Learning from the experience of the past, I would like to appeal to all the unions and service providers to abide by the spirit and letter of the MoU and the contract agreements.
“They must see their role as a national call to duty by ensuring that there is no failure on their part, especially on the eve of elections when it is too late for the Commission to make alternative arrangements.
“The unions should keep an eye on your members to ensure that when they take personnel and materials to designated locations, they also bring them back at the end of the elections. Your contract is for both forward and reverse logistics.”
Yakubu assured the union that INEC would work with security agencies to protect them and their vehicles in the course of the assignment.
“In the course of serving the nation, many of you have lost your vehicles to acts of arson and vandalism arising from violence and thuggery during elections.
“We appreciate that these vehicles are, in most cases, the sole means of livelihood for your members.
“While we appeal to political actors to call their supporters to order, I wish to assure you that we will continue to work with the security agencies to ensure the safety of your members and the protection of their vehicles and boats,” Yakubu said.
The National President of NURTW, Tajudeen Baruwa, said the signing of the MoU marked the beginning of journey for successful conduct of 2023 general elections.
Baruwa said that the three unions would do everything possible to be neutral and ensure succesful implementation of the MoU.
“I wish to assure you and the entire nation, that the three unions, that on our part, we would not disappoint Nigeria.
“In fact the NURTW, MWUN and NARTO has come to regard this assignment as national service and therefore must deliver,” Baruwa said.
The NARTO President-General, Yusuf Othman, pledged that NARTO was committed to the assignment.
Othman said that NARTO had already commenced the arrangements for the deployment of its men.
“We from NATO we consider this assignment national assignment and we will ensure we give 100 per cent commitment and neutrality.”
The National President MWUN, Dr Adeyaju Adewale, commended INEC for extending the service to the nation to maritime workers.
Adewale pledged that MWUN would support INEC to make the elections successful. (NAN)
Council Boss Vows To Deliver Fubara, Other PDP Candidates In Rivers
The Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area in Rivers State, Hon. Akara Okechukwu, has expressed confidence that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will win the forthcoming Governorship election in the area, not leaving out other positions down to the last councillor.
He stated that the foundation of victory has been laid by the Governor of the State, Chief Nyesom Wike, following his infrastructural development in the State.
Hon. Okechukwu said this while reacting after the State PDP campaign team visited his area on Saturday, saying that the people of Oyigbo were ready to reciprocate what the present administration had done for the LGA in every aspect.
“ I have no fear and I am convinced that the Governorship candidate of PDP Siminialayi Fubara, and other State candidates of the PDP, will win.
“The people of Oyigbo have vowed to vote massively for PDP because that is the only way to pay back Governor Wike for his good works, mostly in Oyigbo.
“As I speak, 95 percent of people living in the area have their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and this indicates sure victory for our great party. I thank the people for coming out en masse for the campaign. I am really happy,” Hon. Okechukwu said.
Also speaking, Chairman Revenue Committee of the LGA, Senibo Daniel Chijindu, described the massive turn out as historic, saying that it was an indication of total victory.
“ I will say that the massive turn out of people is historic because this is the first time people came out en masse for campaign. Honestly, this is an indication that Oyigbo is Simplified and totally PDP.
“Governor Wike has given Rivers State a facelift in all ramifications. That is why Oyigbo people said they are for PDP in totality,” he said.
The revenue boss advised those who registered for PVCs to go and collect their cards because that is only way to sustain the good governance of PDP.
In his own remarks, former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in the state and a stakeholder of PDP in Oyigbo, Hon. Nancy Nwankwo, said adequate sensitisation had been done.
According to her , women in Oyigbo were already prepared to celebrate the victory of Siminialayi Fubara come May this year, saying they will come in their numbers to vote for PDP.
“ I am convinced that Sim Fubara will do better hence he was a civil servant. He has proven his intellectual capacity faithful and truthful to replace Governor Wike,” she said.
By: Tonye Orabere
Ebonyi APC Chair, Reps Candidate, Others Arrested Over Alleged Killings
No fewer than 26 suspects have been arrested over the recent killings and arsons that took place in Ekoli Edda Community, in the Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Among those arrested were the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Stanley Okoro-Emegha, and a former chairman of the Afikpo South LGA and Federal House of Representatives candidate for Afikpo North/South Constituency in the 2023 general election, Eni Chima.
The police claimed they (the suspects) were responsible for the killings and arson that pervaded the area on December 26, 2022. In the incident, two persons including a Police Inspector, were killed, while two houses were torched.
The Ebonyi State Police Command, during a press conference, stated this in Abakaliki on Monday.
The command, which spoke through its spokesperson, SP Chris Anyanwu, accused the suspects of being behind the dastardly acts, vowing to arraign them in court soonest.
Aside from murder, the command also accused the suspects of arson, conspiracy, armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms.
According to the police, the suspects must face the wrath of the law, in spite of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor David Umahi.
SP Anyanwu said, “The key actors among the suspects arrested, volunteered useful ‘confessional statements’ that exposed the aggregate of overwhelming findings hereunder outlined:
“The fracas that engulfed Ekoli-Edda on 26/12/2022 ignited at about 1600 hours during a face-off between the security aides of Hon Stanley Okoro Emegha versus a faction of Ekoli-Edda youth believed to be loyalists of Hon Eni Uduma Chima.
“The protracted political rivalry/supremacy struggle between the duo, is the cause of the showdown that took place. Interestingly, the two political stalwarts hail from same community, belong to same political party and even live in close proximity.
“The visit of the APC chairman to his village on the fateful day, with his aides, infuriated the fragment of the youths in the area who are purportedly adherents of Eni Uduma Chima, hence the showdown that ensued.
“The war songs chanted by Egwu Famous Chinedu, the town crier, amidst hitting/blowing of his gong/trumpet, respectively, galvanised the youth into further action, hence, the rampage and escalation of the brouhaha.”
He added, “The investigation further revealed that an attempt to arrest one Aruah said to be the leader of the Ekoli-Edda youth warriors, brought in the warriors who were reserved for the purpose of fighting in the boundary dispute between them and a neighbouring community in Cross River State. The said warriors wielded sophisticated prohibited firearms and their actions further degenerated the situation.”
Release PVCs In Opposition Strongholds, ADC Urges INEC
The African Democratic Congress, ADC, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of hoarding permanent voter’s cards, PVCs, with the intent to favour a particular political party at the polls.
ADC alleged that the only explanation for the inability of some persons to get their PVCs despite the Commission’s promises and show of force was its deliberate strategy to disenfranchise some voters.
The party made its position on the PVC collection known in a statement by Mabel Oboh, the National Diversity and Inclusion Director, and the National Representative of the party in Lagos Campaign Council.
According to the party, “in Lagos for instance, non-indigenes are greatly affected by this deliberate act of disenfranchisement, based on feedback from our supporters.”
ADC noted that, “It is becoming more evident that INEC is not prepared to conduct a free and fair election come February, as a good number of registered voters have not been able to collect their PVCs.
“This is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise willing, but already fed up Nigerians from voting across the country.
“INEC had enough time to prepare for elections but it has shown itself to be partisan by denying people in the stronghold of the opposition their PVCs.
“We consider this action as rigging before elections. This perpetual act should not be condoned by Nigerians
“ADC also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure all eligible voters collect their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs.
“Our democratic systems and processes must be respected for the betterment of all, especially now that the country needs good leadership.
“As a third-force political party, ADC has worked very hard to ensure that we win a lot of seats and we are not going to fold our arms and watch our hard work go up in flames.
“We are also advising all those that have not got their voter’s card to continue to raise alarm.
“This time around, the people should not allow their mandate to be stolen from them.”
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