By Douglas Okoro
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ebonyi, on Wednesday sought collaboration of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), for easy movement of personnel and electoral materials.
Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ebonyi, who spoke at a meeting in Abakaliki with NURTW members, said the collaboration was necessary in order to ensure successful elections.
Obioma, who described NURTW as critical stakeholder, said effective collaboration with the union was needed to ensure successful movement of men and materials.
According to him, the meeting is convened to map out strategies and actions necessary for effective engagement of members of the union.
“The INEC in Abuja has directed states to carry out preparatory inventory of what the commission needs for smooth and successful conduct of the 2019 general elections.
“This meeting with the union aimed at boosting our partnership and collaboration is part of the preparatory inventory.
“The meeting will foster greater cooperation and commitment which will ensure that only those people who are trustworthy and credible will be engaged in the transportation services during the elections.
“There are 1782 poling units in Ebonyi, and the implication is that not fewer than 1782 sound vehicles will be needed to convey our men and materials to these voting areas.
“You can see why the union is very important and indeed a critical stakeholder in the electoral process.
“The commission must count on you to enhance timely and effective distribution of the electoral materials to the various poling units,” Obioma said.
He said that the commission would engage the officials of the 29 branches of the union operating in Ebonyi in similar interactive meeting.
The NURTW’s State Chairman, Mr Ewa Oko, who led other officials of the union to the meeting, commended the REC for the timely initiative.
He said that the meeting would assist both organisations to work out areas of common collaboration and cooperation as well as strengthen grey areas.
Oko said that the union has been supportive of the commission in previous elections and had always mobilised its members during elections.
“We are going to cooperate and collaborate with the commission to ensure that 2019 general elections become a huge success in Ebonyi in terms of transportation of materials and men to various polling units.
“If NURTW says yes; then you know that our yes is our yes. We have assured our support and cooperation to the commission for the success of the elections in Ebonyi and we hold on to it,” Ewa said.
He said that the union had launched operation ‘show your voter card’ explaining that members who were yet to register and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were not allowed to attend the union’s meetings.
“We in NURTW are taking the 2019 elections very seriously. We launched operation show your PVC which makes it compulsory for members to show their voter cards before they are allowed to sit in our meetings.
“If you don’ t have your voter card we send you out of our meeting ,because you are not a good citizen,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting inaugurated a seven – man INEC / NURTW transport joint sub-committee to work out modalities for effective engagement of the transporters. (NAN)