The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has set aside the sum N85 bilion for logistics in the coming 2019 general elections.
INEC’s Head of Health and Welfare, Amina Zakari, who revealed this on Wednesday at a round table discussion between the Commission and NURTW, RTEAN, NARTO in Abuja also disclosed that INEC has secured the consent of two military to enlist Navy and Air Force personnels to access the difficult terrains during the polls.
Zakari lamented that logistic cost is enormous, pointing out that it will cost the commission at least N10 billion on logistics to conduct a single election.
“We have earmarked N85 billion on logistics for the 2019 general elections. For a two-day election, which is the least number of days to conduct election, it cost about N10 billion on logistics. You can imagine what will be involved if we have to take the elections in more than one day like the presidential separately, National Assembly and even the cost of conducting five elections separately.
“These costs exclude leasing of boats at the riverine areas, additional gunboats for security, hiring helicopter for other areas inflicted by insurgency and difficult terrain.
“Moving of personnel and materials in those areas is very challenging and these must be done at the same time nationwide. It is worst because about two-third of the country’s territory is covered by difficult terrain.
“The window for the deployment of electoral materials is too short especially as it must be delivered between 5.00am to 8.00am. You can imagine the enormity of the task, considering the size of the country, difficult terrain and poor road network where the elections have to be conducted.
“We are not even considering the supplementary elections that may come up, the run-off elections and the possible suspension of areas that violence may disrupt the poll which we normally suspend and reschedule.
“The logistic cost is really enormous and it will be good for the country to find a more cost efficient manner it can be conducted,” she said.
Speaking on the arrangement to deploy the military in difficult terrains, the former INEC Ag chairman said: “Security is of paramount importance and if there is no violence, elections can be done seamlessly.
“The commission has also enlisted the services of the Air Force and the Navy for deployment especially to these difficult terrains. Recently, a Logistics Advisory Committee was set up with membership drawn from the commission, security agencies and other partners that will help us achieve a seamless transportation of the materials from the sea or airport to the polling stations.
“With over 120,000 Polling Units, the biggest challenge the commission will encounter is the Election Day logistics. Our problem will be transportation in terms of movement of electoral materials,” she noted.
The representative of the commission’s chairman, Okechukwu Ibeanu, also disclosed that about one million electoral officials, comprising the staff and security agents will be deployed for the 2019 general polls.