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INEC sets up c’ttees ahead of polls as PDP kicks

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday, inaugurated two ad hoc committees on Electoral Logistics and National Collation Centre.

The Electoral Logistics Committee is headed by National Commissioner AVM Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu (rtd); while the Committee on Collation Centre will be chaired by National Commissioner Amina Bala Zakari.

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But the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCP) has kicked against the appointment of Zakari.

The PPCO said Mrs. Zakari was a niece to President Muhammadu Buhari and therefore must not be allowed to head the collation of results in the same election her uncle was a candidate.

The Director Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Kola Ologbondiyan, told newsmen, yesterday in Abuja, that with the appointment, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was setting stage for political crisis in the country.

The PPCO said if Prof. Yakubu wanted a peaceful presidential election, he should swiftly reverse himself on Zakari’s appointment.

Members of the logistics committee included National Commissioners Engr. Abubakar Nahuche and Malam Mohammed Haruna, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps, and the Department of State Services.

The membership also included the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Director, Electoral Operations Department, INEC, Director, Estate Works & Transport, INEC, and Director, Procurement, INEC. The commission’s Director, Stores, will serve as member and Secretary to the committee.

On the other hand, members of the collation committee included national commissioners Prof. Anthonia T. Okoosi-Simbine and Festus Okoye; Chief Technical Adviser to  the chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla; Chief Press Secretary to Hon. Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi; Director, Security Department, INEC; Director, ICP Department, INEC; Director, ICT Department, INEC; Director, EPM Department, INEC;  Director, P&M Department, INEC; and Director, Health Services Department, INEC.

The Director, Commission’s Secretariat, INEC, will serve as member and secretary.

Prof. Yakubu, who said the step was taken to ensure seamless preparations for the 2019 general elections, stated that the first committee was responsible for coordinating logistics support as well as the clearance and transportation of election materials to various locations nationwide.

“The Commission is aware that the conduct of a general election 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,” he said. The INEC chairman said the second ad hoc committee, which was entirely internal to the commission, shall be responsible for the national collation centre from where results of the presidential election would be announced.

“As was the case in 2015, the Commission will use the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja. Already, the management of the ICC has approved the commission’s request to once again use the venue in 2019. It will serve as the secretariat for collation of results and venue for briefing of international observers and the media,” he said.

Prof. Yakubu confirmed that the commission would meet with the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) today to discuss the ongoing strike by the union in relation to the preparations for the general elections.

He said the INEC looked forward to the meeting and expressed confidence of a positive outcome.

The INEC boss said the commission had also contacted the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) with the plan to meet them next week.

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