The Nigerian Air Force has been asked by the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu to assist in airlifting electoral materials for the by-election and rerun on February 3.
In nine states, two senators, four members of the House of Representatives and three members of the state Houses of Assembly will be elected in by-elections to replace members who passed on or resigned their memberships in the national and state assemblies.
In other states, re-run elections will be held at certain constituencies or polling stations as directed by electoral appeal tribunals.
According to the commission, the elections will fill vacancies in three senatorial districts, 17 federal and 28 state constituencies spread across 80 local government areas, 575 registration areas/wards, and 8,934 polling units, involving 4,904,627 registered voters, 4,613,291 of whom have Permanent Voters’ Cards.
Election supplies must be distributed to three locations in the nation’s geopolitical zones—the North East, South East, and South West—and the chairman of INEC stated that this is a significant undertaking that requires the assistance of NAF.
He said, “In handling such a huge national assignment, the commission cannot do it alone. That is why we seek to mobilise every national asset, including NAF.
“It is in realisation of this objective that the law empowers the commission to seek the support of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the delivery of materials and the protection of election officials as clearly provided for in Section 27(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“The elections are holding this weekend. Working with the Central Bank of Nigeria, materials are being delivered to many locations.”
Yakubu explained that “the evacuation of the materials from the focal airports to the States where election will hold will be handled by the Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria as has been the standard practice.”
He also mentioned that the commission had given the Chief of the Air Staff information about the precise locations and quantity of materials to be airlifted.