National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye

INEC clears the air on MC Oluomo , transport unions

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*We aren’t  contracting NURTW, others to convey election materials-Okoye

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked entering into a contract with the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Lagos State or other transport unions to convey materials for them on Election Day.

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There have been reports that the INEC in Lagos State has contracted the Lagos State Parks Management Committee led by Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo to convey election materials for the Commission.

 Recall that Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts, a civil society organisation (CSO), had said that INEC should not work with the Lagos parks management committee chaired by Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo.

On Tuesday, Olusegun Agbaje, the INEC resident electoral commissioner (REC) in Lagos, said he had no option other than to work with the parks committee to distribute election materials in the state.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, Sam Amadi, the CSO’s director, said working with the MC Oluomo-led committee is a “big risk”.

“Earlier this week, there was a report that the INEC is determined to use MC Oluomo’s logistic platform to handle sensitive materials for the elections in Lagos state in spite of being a decorated general in the presidential campaign of the APC,” Amadi said.

“The presidential candidate of the PDP has called on INEC not to employ MC Oluomo group for the movement of electoral materials because of the real possibility of undermining the credibility of the elections in Lagos state.

“INEC needs not to be told that any association with any platform under the control of MC Oluomo is a big risk. Whatever it will take for INEC to maintain credibility must be done. INEC should go the extra mile to ensure that it does not jeopardise the credibility of the elections it is conducting.

But speaking on Channels Television’s The 2023 Verdict programme on Thursday, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the electoral umpire does not have any contract with the body or any other transport unions.

“For the 2023 election, this Commission is going to hire at least 138,000 vehicles and we have hired vehicles in the past. This Commission is going to hire at least 4,000 boats; we have hired boats in the past, and this Commission will hire at least 88,000 motorcycles.

“Now the Commission enters into individual contracts with the vehicle owners; we don’t enter into any form of contract with the union. What we have with the National Union of Road Transport Workers and with the National Association of Road Transport Owners and the Marine Union is what we call a Memorandum of Understanding.

“We don’t enter into a contract with them. So, the issue of the name of an individual being mentioned to the effect that the individual is going to provide all the vehicle that the commission needs or for the purposes of this election is just mischievous,” Okoye said.

He said that INEC’s MoU with the transport unions is for accountability in case a driver absconds or does not turn up for duty.

Okoye said the Commission deals with each state according to their peculiarity, adding that the Supervising National Commissioner in Lagos State has assured of a hitch-free arrangement.

The INEC National Commissioner also said that the electoral umpire and other observers are satisfied with the performance of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during the mock accreditation exercise recently conducted in 436 polling units.

According to Okoye, the BVAS can capture the fingerprints of registered voters or their facials. He said Nigerians who participated in the exercise expressed satisfaction with it and commended the Commission for the advancement.

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