The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it has no other choice but to work with the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, which is headed by Musiliu (MC Oluomo) Akinsanya, a well-known Lagos APC figure.
Olusegun Agbaje, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos, announced this during the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting that was held at the INEC office in Lagos on Tuesday.
Mr. Agbaje was responding to questions regarding the controversy surrounding INEC’s engagement of the MC Oluomo-led committee. “There is a ban on the NURTW and RTEAN, we are only left with the Park Management system and NARTO (National Association of Road Transport Owners) and we are already working with NARTO.
NARTO is not even able to meet up with 40 percent of our vehicle requirements for this election. The commission in Lagos State does not have any option than to use the park management system,” Mr Agbaje explained.
The ban on the Nation Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) was imposed by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who set up Park Management Committees to oversee the operations in the state. However, Mr Agbaje stated that INEC is not concerned about Mr Akinsanya, a loyalist of APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu.
“We are not dealing with Oluomo, we are dealing with the park managers. Individual people that have vehicles are those we are going to use. So, it would be against the law if INEC were to continue to work with NURTW or any other group that is proscribed in the state,” the INEC boss stated.
Despite this, Mr Agbaje emphasized that working with the state parks management committee would not reduce the credibility of the polls. The movement of electoral personnel and materials would be monitored by security agencies, party agents, and observers, which would ensure that the election remains credible and transparent. “I don’t see how this can compromise the election in any way. Our politicians should see the peculiarities in Lagos State; we cannot work with banned NURTW or RTEAN.
We need over 5,000 vehicles for this election, including trucks, buses, and so on to carry our people and materials for the elections. There is no other way we can go. We cannot go to other states and bring vehicles here, it is not allowed by law. The only way we can operate is through the park management system,” Mr Agbaje stated.
Mr Agbaje also assured that the commission would not use any politically branded vehicle for the elections, such as any vehicle carrying the logo of a party or image of any candidate. This would help maintain the sanctity of the election and prevent any room for electoral malpractice.
The PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had warned INEC not to use the committee led by Mr Akinsanya, a former NURTW chairman and APC stalwart, to distribute election materials in order to preserve the integrity of the election.
In a statement on February 2, Atiku’s media aide, Phrank Shaibu, said INEC must ensure that the election remains free from any form of electoral malpractice and preserve its sanctity. Mr Shaibu also stated that Mr Akinsanya remained a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and had held solidarity rallies for the party and its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings