Fuel Shortage Threatens Election Logistics – INEC Warns

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) expressed concern yesterday that the scarcity of fuel across the country may affect election-day logistics. Despite assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) of adequate fuel during the election, the three major presidential candidates also expressed hope that the shortage will be resolved before the polls. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, spoke at a meeting with National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) officials to finalize the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between INEC and NURTW on December 20, 2022.

Prof. Yakubu acknowledged that logistics have been a persistent challenge in election administration in Nigeria. He stated, “The commission is aware of the impact that the fuel scarcity may have on transportation on election day and we share your concern. We may face difficulties due to the unavailability of products. To address this issue, we will meet with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited today to find a solution. We want to assure the people of Nigeria that we will continue to work with every relevant institution to ensure the success of the 2023 general election.”

He emphasized that INEC has collaborated with road transport unions for three election cycles to tackle this problem and for the 2023 General Elections, INEC has also included the Marine Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to ensure efficient maritime transportation.

Prof. Yakubu emphasized that it’s time to end all excuses and provide efficient logistics for a smooth election day. He said, “Nigerians should not have to wait for the arrival of personnel and materials at the polling units. We should be there waiting for the arrival of voters. We believe this is achievable through partnerships with unions and other stakeholders.” He acknowledged that planning is critical and INEC has already presented the number and specifications of vehicles required for the election and their desired locations to the union.

He added, “This is a patriotic duty and we should make the necessary sacrifices in the national interest. We understand that this is a big task, but elections only happen once every four years.” He noted that the union’s members are spread across the country, which means that vehicles carrying personnel and materials will not have to travel far distances. All movements should be within a state and preferably within local government areas.

NNPC assures INEC of adequate supply

After a meeting with INEC, the NNPC assured them of sufficient fuel supply and stated that the current scarcity will not impact election-day logistics. The CEO of NNPC, Mele Kyari, acknowledged the importance of logistics in electoral duties and said, “NNPC has always supported INEC in making sure fuel is available for vehicles involved in the electoral process, even though there was no formal framework or requests. We are always aware of the necessity to support INEC during elections.”

Kyari added that this time it’s different and NNPC sees it as both an honor and a challenge to contribute to a stable political system in the country by ensuring fuel availability for INEC.

The NNPC Limited, after a meeting with the INEC Chairman, has assured the commission of sufficient fuel supply for the elections, despite the current scarcity. The Group CEO of NNPC, Mele Kyari, emphasized their commitment to supporting INEC and ensuring a stable political system in the country. He acknowledged that NNPC may not have a presence in all locations but promised to work with INEC’s logistics team and provide commercial links with other marketing companies to ensure the availability of fuel for the 100,000 vehicles required for the election.

Additionally, we are the only company with floating mega stations in the country, and we will investigate how these can be utilized for the election day maritime operations in the riverine areas.”

Earlier, Prof. Yakubu informed that INEC is deploying about 100,000 vehicles and 4,000 boats for personnel and material transportation to 176,846 polling units located across 8,809 registration areas in 774 local government areas nationwide.

Although the NNPC has taken steps to address the fuel scarcity issue, Prof. Yakubu proposed the use of NNPC’s land and floating mega stations nationwide to cater to INEC’s election vehicles and boats. He stated: “We will bear the cost for the fuel and guarantee its supply for the election. Our aim is to establish a special arrangement with other marketers in areas where the NNPC may not have dedicated stations and explore other options to support our smooth operations on election day.

Things‘ll change before polls — Tinubu’s spokesperson

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council expressed confidence that the current situation will improve before election day. The Chief Spokesperson of the Council, Mr. Festus Keyamo, who is also the Minister of State for Labor and Employment, stated that he has had discussions with the top leaders of NNPC and was assured that the issue will be resolved. Keyamo said, “I have personally interacted with the top leaders of NNPC and I am confident the situation will significantly improve before the election day.”

INEC should double-check transport unions — LP

The Labour Party also weighed in on the concerns raised by INEC regarding the supply of petroleum products and its potential impact on the elections. The party called for INEC to secure proper funding for the transporters involved in election duty. The Chief Spokesman of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, stated that the issue was not the availability of the product, but the high cost, with a liter of gasoline ranging from N300 to N320. He advised INEC to provide adequate funding to ensure proper payment for transporters during the election.

The Labor Party (LP) has advised INEC to secure additional funds to ensure that transporters engaged in election duties are properly funded. The party has raised concerns about the high cost of fuel in some states, which may result from the control of transport unions by political parties and their godfathers. The LP spokesman, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, warned INEC to be vigilant and ensure that the allegiance to these powerful individuals does not undermine the national interest.

It’ll be brought under control — PDP Campaign

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP’s presidential candidate, expressed his belief that the shortage of petroleum products would be addressed before the presidential election. He based his confidence on President Muhamadu Buhari’s dedication to ensuring a transparent, fair, and credible election. This was communicated by his Special Assistant on Public Communications, Mr. Phrank Shaibu.

He added: “Given President Buhari’s commitment to a fair and credible election, we are confident that the fuel scarcity issue will be resolved before the polls. This is because allowing the fuel crisis to persist goes against the President’s promise to guarantee credible elections.”

Source: Vanguard News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *