Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, has slammed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for reportedly giving contracts to companies controlled by All Progressives Congress candidates (APC).
INEC admits in a statement issued by its National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, to giving a sensitive contract to Binani Printing Press Limited, a company controlled by APC governorship candidate in Adamawa State, Senator Aishatu Ahmed Binani.
Okoye said that the contract was awarded to the company to stimulate the economy and encourage Nigerian enterprise, and that a preliminary search at the Corporate Affairs Commission did not reveal Senator Binani as a director.
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In a statement, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Media, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, said INEC’s explanation was weak and unconvincing.
Shaibu expressed regret that, despite receiving an allocation of over N300 billion as well as financial help from other governments such as the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom, INEC’s leadership had continued to run the commission without hesitation.
He said, “INEC’s latest statement cannot even fool a primary school student. An ordinary search on CAC’s portal by youths on Twitter has already revealed that Senator Binani owns Binani Printing Press Limited, a firm that was given a contract to print sensitive INEC material. The company with RC 310024, which was registered on March 13, 1997 has Senator Aishatu Ahmed listed as number one.
“It is obvious that Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has no plan of leaving a legacy of free and fair elections. With barely a year left on his tenure, his performance as INEC chairman will become a by-word for failure. This is a man who has received the highest financial allocation ever and yet cannot still run the agency effectively and deliver a credible election.
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“It is funny that INEC claims it awarded the contract to Binani’s company in order to stimulate the local economy. One wonders whether it is the duty of INEC to stimulate the economy or conduct credible elections.”
Shaibu pointed out that this would not be the first time INEC would give sensitive contracts to APC leaders.
He recounted that, ahead of the 2019 election, INEC, led by Yakubu, gave a contract for the printing of Permanent Voters’ Cards to Mohammed Sani Musa, who was running for the Niger East senatorial seat at the time.
Shaibu added, “Recall that in the run-up to the 2019 Presidential election, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu admitted that the commission indeed awarded a contract to Act Technologies Limited to print Permanent Voters’ Cards.
“Act Technologies, whose Managing Director, Mohammed Sani Musa, was APC candidate for Niger East senatorial district at the time, went on to win that election.”
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Senator Musa was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) shortly before the 2015 elections, according to Shaibu, following claims made by the spokesman for the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation.
“Despite all these complaints, INEC still insisted on awarding him a contract,” Shaibu said.
According to Atiku’s assistant, despite concerns from numerous political parties, INEC, led by Prof. Yakubu, persisted on using the transport services of Musiliu Akinsanya, alias MC Oluomo, to transport vote sheets around Lagos State on election day.
He said, “Elections are not just supposed to be free and fair. They are expected to be free and fair. The process and credibility of an election are more important than its result. Prof. Yakubu has obviously failed Nigerians despite receiving so much money to run INEC.
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“This latest excuse by INEC for awarding a contract to an APC candidate holds no water and is the height of the commission’s irresponsibility and incompetence”.
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