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2023: ‘Never Again Will Elections Be Postponed At Eleventh Hour’ — INEC Chairman

Yakubu stated this on Friday during the inauguration of the Electoral Logistics Committee (EloC) held at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

He said inaugurating the committee was significant as critical materials for the election have started arriving in the country.

The committee whose members were drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, and the Nigeria Customs Service, amongst others, is saddled with ensuring that the 2023 election materials are seamlessly distributed to different parts of the country.

Mahmood described the delivery and distribution of election materials as “the biggest operation Nigeria undertakes every four years”.

He added, “For the movement of election materials and protection of personnel nationwide, Section 27(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 empowers the Commission to seek for the support of the armed forces. Accordingly, the three-armed services (Army, Navy and Air Force) are members of ELoC. Similarly, the Nigeria Police Force, being the lead agency in election security, is also a member as well as the sister security agencies. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) are also members pursuant to their statutory responsibilities for the clearance and release of materials at seaports and other entry points into the country.

“At our various airports, aviation agencies such as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA) play important roles, including the facilitation of access to all airports nationwide for shuttle services for elections as the need arises.

“So too are the aviation handling companies – Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO)– in the provision of ground facilities for loading and offloading of cargo at airports. Furthermore, in 2019, some of the flights conveying essential electoral materials could not land at some airports because of poor visibility. Accordingly, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) is a member of ELoC to provide expert advice on weather-related issues to facilitate proper and efficient planning and delivery of materials.

“The Committee’s 9-point Terms of Reference and 27-point Duties and Functions are contained in your folders for this meeting. I urge you to commence your meeting immediately and be submitting periodic reports through the Chairman of the Committee who is an INEC National Commissioner.

“In this way, we will be tracking progress and know well in advance of potential weak links in the logistics chain. We will also be updating Nigerians of progress we are making on regular basis. We are determined that never again should elections be postponed at the eleventh hour on account of logistics. That is why we are mobilising every national asset and starting the engagement early.”

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