INEC and logistics for Kogi, Bayelsa elections
The forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections will be a litmus test for Acting Chairperson of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Hajiya Amina Bala Zakari, especially in the area of logistics and free and fair conduct of the elections.
The two states’ governorship elections are scheduled for November 21 and December 5 2015, respectively. Thus, the two elections will serve as Hajiya Amina’s first impression to Nigerians.
Most observers are supportive and have confidence that Hajiya Zakari will deliver according to the expectation of most Nigerians, because amidst the uproar over her appointment, she did not get distracted, rather promptly released the timetable for the conduct of the two governorship elections within the month she came to office and applied all laid down regulation without fear or favour.
The commission then commenced, within reasonable time, the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercises in the two states and completed with little or no complaints. This is an improvement against what typified the process in the run up to the general elections recently.
INEC’s readiness and commitment has led to political parties organizing smooth governorship primaries that resulted in the emergence of governorship candidates. This shows that the election will be smooth, free and fair; however, INEC biggest challenge will be logistics, which has been a perennial problem for the commission during elections.
In an effort to overcome logistics problem, INEC had during Jega’s reign entered into agreement with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to help in transporting elections materials to the nooks and crannies of the country. Yet, during the 2015 presidential and National Assembly elections, the obnoxious late arrival and late commencement of the polls was reported in some states.
With such development- the late arrival of election material due to the claim by some drivers that the failure to get their first part of their payment from the commission was responsible, INEC acting chairperson should not take the issue of logistics for granted in the upcoming polls as well as be very proactive, because the Kogi and bayelsa elections will determine how Nigerians as well as the world will rate her.
There is the need for the chairperson to apply an Operation Research technique- System thinking, to the logistics issues. This techniques will assist in harnessing and improving the efficiency of NURTW members and INEC ad hoc staff, in the area of improvement of the arrival of sensitive materials to RACs a day before the polls.
Zakari will certainly display her versatility and scientist thinking in conducting the Kogi and Bayelsa elections, especially in the area of timely arrival of sensitive material, conducts of INEC’s permanent and adhoc staff and organization. The greatest advantage Hajiya Zakari has is, she has been part of INEC’s success stories.
Shamsuddeen Sani Hussaini wrote from Abuja.