There is a growing agitation in the corridors of power and beyond.
And this development centers around attempts by boss of electoral umpire, Ince - Alhaji Attahiru Jega to print materials for the upcoming general elections abroad, against the backdrop of stifling economic downtown and proven records of successfully staging elections with locally made materials.
Here are the details of the latest twist in the upcoming election as sourced
'The decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
to print materials for the 2015 general election abroad is causing
ripples within The Presidency and the economic management team.
The Commission under the chairmanship of Professor Attahiru Muhammadu
Jega is believed to be finalizing arrangement to print and import all
the materials needed for the general election, with a firm either South
Africa or the United Kingdom as the likely beneficiary.
The Post understands that critics of INEC’s proposal have at
meetings questioned the wisdom of spending enormous amount of the
country’s hard-earned foreign exchange to print electoral materials
abroad, when the Nigerian Security and Printing and Minting Plc. (NSPMC)
can do the same job at far lesser cost.
The NSPMC has the statutory mandate to print sensitive security
materials in the country such as election materials and currencies but
critics of INEC’s arrangement are worried that the commission appears to
be bowing to pressure from opposition parties even if doing this will
cause Nigerian to waste scarce foreign exchange.
It was gathered that Jega and his team at INEC have so far failed to
convince President Goodluck Jonathan’s economic management team on the
propriety of spending scarce foreign exchange on jobs that can easily be
handled by the NSPMC.
The national currency, the Naira, has been under pressure lately on
account of falling crude oil prices and a dwindling foreign reserves.
Recently, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin
Emefiele, visited the INEC as a follow up to a directive by President
Jonathan that the election materials be printed locally.
The commission is said to have based its decision to print the
election materials abroad on the need to ensure successful elections but
critics have pointed out that many State Gubernatorial Elections have
been successfully organized using materials printed in Nigeria.
They also point at the fact that the NSPMC has lately printed the
Nigerian currency with security features that are comparable with the
ones found on some of the world’s major currencies like the US Dollar
and the British Pound.
There are also fears that the attempt to print the materials abroad
may be a carefully designed scheme by some top officials to siphon money
out of the country.
'There also fears that if INEC is allowed to go ahead, the issue could
end up as ammunition in the hands of the opposition’s campaign against
President Jonathan and his reelection bid.
At the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, told The Post
that there is no reason for the Commission to disagree with the
Presidency saying that it would be ridiculous for anybody to say that
printing of election materials was a source of disagreement between it
and the Presidency.
He hinted that several companies have submitted bids handle the printing of election materials.
He confirmed that companies had submitted bids to print the election
materials and that the Commission was evaluating all of them based on
its needs as it prepares for the 2015 elections, even though the NSPMC
is the only one in that line of business in Nigeria.
He Said: “INEC is yet to take a decision on on where materials for
the elections would be printed. So I don’t think that would be a source
of disagreement between the Commission and the Presidency.”
He went on further to add that when a bid is finally approved the
Commission might not make it public so that politicians do not
infiltrate the organisation.'