The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it has no choice but to hire the Lagos State Parks Management Committee to disperse election materials and people in the state on election days.
Olusegun Agbaje, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, stated this during Tuesday’s meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the INEC office in Lagos.
Mr. Agbaje was replying to inquiries on irregularities surrounding the distribution of electoral materials by the Parks Management Committee, chaired by Lagos APC leader Musiliu Akinsanya (aka MC Oluomo).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu banned the operations of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the state and established Park Management Committees to administer operations.
Atiku Abubakar, however, has cautioned INEC against using the Parks Management Committee chaired by Akinsanya, a former NURTW chairman and APC loyalist, to distribute election materials so as not to undermine the integrity of the election.
In a statement released on 2 February by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, Mr. Abubakar stated that INEC must uphold the sanctity of the election and ensure there is no opportunity for electoral fraud.
He stated that INEC must guarantee that the group led by MC Oluomo is not mobilized to transport materials.
Mr. Agbaje stated, in reference to the controversies, that the commission was not concerned with Akinsanya, but rather with individual drivers and vehicle owners, in order to satisfy the huge volume of logistical needs for the polls.
“The NURTW and RTEAN have been banned, leaving us with only the Park Management system and NARTO (National Association of Road Transport Owners), with whom we are already cooperating.
“NARTO cannot fulfill even 40% of our car needs for this election. The Lagos State commission has no choice but to implement a park management system.
“We do not deal with Oluomo; we deal with park administrators.” Individuals that possess their own vehicles will be utilized.
“Therefore, it would be illegal for INEC to continue working with NURTW or any other group that is banned in the state,” the INEC director added.
The movement of electoral workers and materials will be supervised by security authorities, party agents, and observers, he emphasized, so that working with the state parks management committee would not compromise the credibility of the elections.
“Security agencies and party agents, including the military, would monitor and escort these vehicles from CBN to Local Government Areas when they carry our supplies from the Central Bank of Nigeria” (LGAs).
“Therefore, I cannot see how this may jeopardize the election in any way. Our leaders should recognize the uniqueness of Lagos State; we cannot collaborate with the outlawed NURTW or RTEAN.
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