The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday inaugurated ad hoc committees on the Electoral Logistics and the National Collation Centre.
While the ad hoc committee on the Electoral Logistics is chaired by an INEC National Commissioner, Air Vice Marshal Tijjani Mu’azu (retd.), another INEC National Commissioner, Amina Zakari, has been named the chairman of the ad hoc committee on National Collation Centre.
But the opposition political parties led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have rejected the appointment of Zakari as the chairperson of the Committee on National Collation Centre, insisting that she is President Muhammadu Buhari’s niece.
But Yakubu said with the inauguration of the two committees, the commission was taking another step in its determination to ensure seamless preparations for the 2019 general elections.
He said, “As we move closer to the elections, the commission has decided to set up two ad hoc committees to drive important components of the electoral process. The first committee is responsible for electoral logistics. The commission is aware that the conduct of the general elections is the biggest and most complex logistics operation a nation can undertake.
“Sensitive and non-sensitive materials procured by the commission must be delivered to almost 200,000 locations nationwide, ranging from the polling units to the various ward, local government, state and the national collation centres for the 1,558 constituencies into which elections will be conducted.
“At the end of the elections, sensitive materials will be retrieved from the same locations. The same process will be repeated for each of the two phases of the 2019 general elections, namely the Presidential and National Assembly elections holding on February 16 and the governorship, state assembly and area council election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on March 2.
“For the 2019 general elections, the Electoral Logistics Committee will be responsible for coordinating logistics support as well as the clearance and transportation of election materials to various locations nationwide. The committee includes relevant security agencies whose roles are clearly defined in Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“The second ad hoc committee, which is entirely internal to the commission, shall be responsible for the national collation centre from where results of the Presidential election will be announced. As was the case in 2015, the commission will use the International Conference Centre in Abuja. Already, the management of the ICC has approved the commission’s request to once again use the venue in 2019.”
While reassuring Nigerians that INEC was on course to deliver credible elections in 2019, Yakubu confirmed that the commission would meet with the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Friday, January 4, 2019 at 4pm.
According to him, the purpose of the meeting would be to discuss the ongoing strike by ASUU but only in relation to its preparations for the general elections.
Her appointment setting the stage for a political crisis –PDP
Meanwhile, groups including the PDP and the All Progressives Grand Alliance have opposed the appointment of Zakari as the head of the committee on the presidential election coalition centre.
The PDP, at a press conference in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Thursday rejected Zakari’s appointment on the grounds that “she is President Muhammadu Buhari’s blood relation.”
Ologbondiyan said such an appointment would assist Buhari, the APC and INEC to rig the presidential election.
He also said it could fuel violence, adding that it would be injurious to Nigeria’s democracy.