The National Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has called for the support of the Nigerian Air Force in the deployment of personnel and airlifting of election items to remote and unsafe areas across the country.
The commission also requested the support of the Air Force to provide security in a flexible environment as it had done during the off-election election.
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement during a visit to the Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, on Wednesday, in Abuja.
“On February 25, 2023 and March 11, 2023, the commission will send workers and building materials to about 190,000 polling stations and nationwide meeting at 1,491 offices and legal authorities throughout Nigeria,” said an INEC official.
He added, “In addition to transport support, the Air Force has re-deployed its assets to provide security during non-invasive elections, especially in difficult areas.
“Elections include many integration and complex activities that can take place in a country of peace.
“These activities must take place simultaneously, exceeding 923,768km2 during a six-hour voting period (8.30am – 2.30pm) involving an estimated 90 million people.
“In handling such a large national project, the Commission will not be able to do it alone as it has to collect national assets. It is in the pursuit of this goal that the law empowers the Commission to request the support of the General Security Forces and the Armed Forces in particular in the provision of electoral services and the protection of electoral officers.
“Provided that the Commission will only request the deployment of the Nigerian Armed Forces for the purpose of securing the distribution and delivery of electoral materials and the protection of electoral officers.”
He also appealed to the Air Force for assistance in overseeing the delivery of outstanding election items in the administrative elections in Ekiti and Osun.
Yakubu added, “There is no time to waste. The 2023 general election is only 261 days from today. However, the election of the Governor of Ekiti District will be in the next 10 days on Saturday, June 18, 2022 while the election of the Governor of Osun will be in 38 days on Saturday, July 16, 2022.
“We will seek the support of the Air Force in overseeing the delivery of the remaining electoral services in both Provinces while the commission is responsible for all the deployment of troops to the provinces in Local Government Areas and beyond as has been the practice.”
In response, Amao commended INEC for strengthening the country’s electoral system.
He pledged to provide INEC with the support and communication required by the NAF to air all election materials, including staff coming to Nigeria in any remote part of the country to ensure free, inclusive and fair electionsal.