The Independent National Electoral Commission has sought the support of the Nigerian Air Force in deploying personnel and airlifting election materials to remote and insecure areas across the country.
The commission also solicited the support of the Air Force to provide security in volatile areas just as it had been doing during the off-cycle elections.
The INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this during his visit to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, on Wednesday, in Abuja
“On February 25, 2023 and March 11, 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,” the INEC boss disclosed.
He added, “Beyond logistics support, the Air Force has also deployed its assets to provide security during off-cycle elections, especially in areas of difficult terrain.
“Election constitutes the most extensive mobilisation and complex logistics operations that could happen in a country in peacetime.
“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 assets must be mobilised. It is in realisation of this objective 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.
“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.”
He also requested the help of the Air Force in handling the delivery of outstanding election materials to Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.
Yakubu added, “There is no time to waste. The 2023 general election is only 261 days from today. However, the Ekiti State Governorship election holds in the next 10 days on Saturday, June 18, 2022 while the Osun Governorship election holds in 38 days on Saturday, July 16, 2022.
“We will seek the support of the Air Force in handling the delivery of outstanding election materials to the two States while the commission bears responsibility for all subsequent deployment within the states to the Local Government Areas and beyond as has been the practice.”
Responding, Amao commended INEC for strengthening electoral processes in the country.
He promised to give INEC necessary NAF support and coordinations 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.