By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has assured of adequate fuel supply for successful conduct of the 2023 general election.
Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, said this when he received management team of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led by its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at NNPCL Tower in Abuja on Tuesday.
Kyari said the company had put in place measures to address the current fuel distribution challenges, as well ensure there was enough fuel nationwide for success of the election.
“I assure you just as you have indicated, we have taken very extreme measures to see that we can contain the current distribution challenges that we have.
“We believe that within the next one week there will be significant relief, if not elimination of the current situation that we are facing.
“In respect of that we will make arrangements to make sure the products are made available to your vehicles during the election period or as a buildup to the election.
“Our team will engage your team so that they sort out what best mechanism to be in place, so and to take it up from there,” he said.
Kyari said that the NNPC knew that logistic was a major component of organising election and had always supported INEC in making sure that fuel was available for hitch-free delivery of electoral materials and officials.
“All the same, we are always conscious of the necessity to provide support to INEC whenever election takes place,” he said.
He said that NNPCL considered INEC request as a honour and challenge to do everything possible in making sure that Nigeria had a stable political system.
He said that NNPC as the largest downstream company with presence in most locations across the country, would work with other commercial companies to make the product available in locations where NNPCL was not present.
“We will work with your logistic team to identify those areas where we may not have presence, so that we can bring in other marketing companies into the conversation so that the products are made available to all the 100,000 vehicles that you have indicated.
“There will be no difficulty doing this, we have present everywhere.
“But where we are not, we will provide commercial conversation between the commission and other marketing companies so that when you need this product, you will have it.
“In addition to this Mr chairman, we are the only company that has floating mega stations in the country.
“We will also look at this and see how we can make it available for the purpose of the marine operations in the riverine areas of our country,” Kyari said.
Speaking, Yakubu said the visit was to seek for partnership with the company to ensure adequate supply of petrol for effective logistics delivery during the 2023 general election.
Hesaid that Nigerian election was huge and complex, describing it as the biggest logistical operation that the country undertook every four years.
He said the election was complex with 93,469,008 registered voters expected to elect a President, 28 State Governors and 1,462 legislators (109 Senators, 360 members of House of Representatives and 993 members of State Houses of Assembly).
“The Commission is mobilising about 100,000 vehicles and 4,000 boats for the deployment of personnel and materials to 176,846 polling units spread across 8,809 Registration Areas (or electoral Wards) in 774 Local Government Areas nationwide,” he said.
He said that INEC was working with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) as well as the Marine Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to mobilise vehicles and boats needed for the massive land and riverine movement of men and materials for the election.
“We are determined to overcome the perennial challenge of late commencement of polls on grounds of logistics.
“However, this objective cannot be fully accomplished without the guaranteed supply of petroleum products to facilitate the movement of vehicles and boats.
“Hence, in our effort to mobilise every national institution to give Nigerians a pleasant experience on election day, the Commission believes that the NNPC, as our national oil company, is one of the critical institutions that can facilitate the attainment of our objective,” he said.
Yakubu said that while INEC was aware of the efforts of the NNPC to ease the current situation in earnest, at the same time, it would like to appeal to the company to consider the following proposals:
“The use of the NNPC land and floating mega stations nationwide to service our election duty vehicles and boats. We will bear the cost of the products. By doing so, there will be guaranteed supply for elections;
“A special arrangement with other marketers in locations where the NNPC may not have dedicated stations and consider other options to support our seamless operations on Election Day,” Yakubu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the company later set up a committee to work out the modality for the implementation of partnership with INEC toward a hitch-free election. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa