The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday dismissed reports that it has contracted the Lagos State Parks Management Committee headed by Musiliu (MC Oluomo) Akinsanya, a Lagos All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, to handle the distribution of election materials.
VANTAGE NEWS reports that the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, Olusegun Agbaje, had on Tuesday revealed that the commission had granted MC Oluomo, who is the former chairman of the defunct National Union of Road Transport Workers in Lagos, the permission to coordinate distribution of election materials by drivers hired by the commission.
Agbaje made this known during a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the INEC office in Lagos.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, had called on INEC to remove Agbaje as its Lagos REC for allegedly being compromised.
Reacting over the development during a live interview on Wednesday on News Central TV, the INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said the commission was not working with Oluomo but with individual drivers who were made to sign individual contracts with the commission.
He said, “I think we need to put the issue in context. We have 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. In all these states and throughout this particular period, ranging from even the 2015 elections up till this particular, we have always used drivers for purpose of distributing election materials. For the 2023 general election, the commission needs at least 138,000 vehicles.
“We’re also going to hire at least 4,000 boats, and we’re going to hire at least 88,000 motorcycles to move our personnel and also move our materials across all the states of the Federation.
“We have an MOU with the National Union of Road Transport Workers and that MoU is for them to act as, if you’d permit me to use the word, to put an eye on some of their members to make sure that they do what is right.
“We have a contract with individual drivers. Each driver that is going to convey any of our materials will be given a contractor sign. So, our contract is between the individual driver andthe commission and not with the union.”
He added that INEC signed Memorandum With Transport Unions so that “if we have hired a particular vehicle and they know their members and the person does not show up on Election day, they will assist us and call the person and find out why the person has not shown up on Election Day.”
Okoye added, “For states that did not have a national union of road transport workers, what we need is a situation where we can be sure that a particular driver belongs to the union or a particular driver can be located on Election Day so that the driver does not collect money and disappear.
“We are also profiling all those drivers through the Federal Road Safety Commission. They will profile them individually and also make sure that the vehicles they are producing are road worthy. So, we have contract with individual drivers, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURT) do not have vehicles, the individuals have. The National Association of Road Transport Owners do not drive vehicles, the individuals do.
“So, it is those drivers that we have contract with. What we have with the unions or any other organs or agencies is a memorandum of understanding. But in terms of moving our election materials and personnel, it is with the individual drivers that we have contract.”
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