The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd to make special arrangements towards guaranteeing the supply of petroleum products to facilitate the movement of vehicles and boats to be deployed by the commission for the forthcoming polls.
For seamless operations on the election days, the commission asked NNPC to make a special arrangement with other marketers in locations where the NNPC may not have dedicated stations for petrol supply.
Yakubu spoke on Tuesday at a meeting with the management of NNPCL held at the NNPC Towers, Abuja.
He also suggested the use of the NNPC land and floating mega stations nationwide to service election duty vehicles and boats and expressed the readiness of the commission to bear the cost of the products.
“Earlier this morning, we had a meeting with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). We are working with them as well as the Marine Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to mobilise the vehicles and boats needed for the massive land and riverine movement of men and materials for the election.
“We are determined to overcome the perennial challenge of late commencement of polls on grounds of logistics.
“However, this objective cannot be fully accomplished without the guaranteed supply of petroleum products to facilitate the movement of vehicles and boats.
“Hence, in our effort to mobilise every national institution to give Nigerians a pleasant experience on Election Day, the Commission believes that the NNPC, as our national oil company, is one of the critical institutions that can facilitate the attainment of our objective.
“We are aware of the efforts of the NNPC to ease the current situation in earnest. At the same time, we would like to appeal to you to consider the following proposals:
“The use of the NNPC land and floating mega stations nationwide to service our election duty vehicles and boats. We will bear the cost of the products. By doing so, there will be guaranteed supply for elections;
“A special arrangement with other marketers in locations where the NNPC may not have dedicated stations and
Consider other options to support our seamless operations on Election Day, Yakubu said.
The INEC boss said Nigerians will go to the polls in a little over three weeks in what will be our 7th consecutive general election since the restoration of democracy in 1999.
“The election will hold in two phases. The national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) will hold on Saturday 25th February 2023 to be followed two weeks later by State elections (Governorship and States Houses of Assembly) on Saturday 11th March 2023.’’
Describing Nigerian election as huge and complex, Yakubu also said: “Election is the biggest logistical operation that Nigeria undertakes every four years. 93,469,008 registered voters are expected to elect a President, 28 State Governors and 1,462 legislators (109 Senators, 360 members of House of Representatives and 993 members of State Houses of Assembly).
“The Commission is mobilising about 100,000 vehicles and 4,000 boats for the deployment of personnel and materials to 176,846 polling units spread across 8,809 Registration Areas (or electoral Wards) in 774 Local Government Areas nationwide.’’
He thanked the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, for the audience.
While responding, Kyari, assured the commission of adequate fuel supply in order to ensure that the current scarcity of the product did not affect election day logistics.
“We know that logistics is a major component of electoral duties. NNPC has always supported the INEC, not in this direct form, in making sure that fuel is made available to all vehicles that are involved in the electoral process.
“Needless to say that there was no formal framework for that, and there were no even exact formal requests for this. All the same, we are always conscious of the necessity to provide support to INEC whenever elections take place.
“Today is very different, Mr chairman it’s not just an honour to NNPC. It’s also a challenge to us, to come into the equation in making sure that we have a stable political system in our country and we’ll be happy to contribute to this.
“Having said this chairman, we are the largest downstream company in the country today. Six months ago, it was not so, but today we have acquired huge assets since our incorporation into a limited liability company and we have spread across the country. That is not to say that we are in every city and every town, it is possible that there may be some locations where we may not be present.
“We will work with your logistics team to identify those areas where we may not have a presence so that we can bring in other marketing companies into the conversation so that the products are made available to all the 100,000 vehicles that you have indicated.
“There will be no difficulty doing this Mr Chairman, we have a presence, we are everywhere. But where we are not, we will provide commercial conversation between the commission and other marketing companies so that when you need this product, you will have it,’’ Persecondnews quotes the NNPC boss as saying.
“Also in addition to this Mr chairman, we are the only company that has floating mega stations in the country. We will also look at this and seehow we can make it available for the purpose of Marine Operations in the riverine areas of our country.
“I assure you just as you have indicated, we have taken very extreme measures to see that we can contain the current distribution challenges that we have and will believe that within the next one week, there will be significant relief if not the elimination of the current situation that we are facing,’’ Kyari added.