A crisis is in the offing at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Abuja, following the decision of the commission to contract the printing of the ballot papers for the 2015 presidential and governorship elections to a foreign firm at the cost of N6 billion.
Although the Commission is yet to award the controversial contract, it has started the process that will lead to the award to either an American or European firm.
INEC officials are set to depart Nigeria this week for the United States of America, Germany, Italy and Ukraine in the first leg of the move to inspect elite printing companies, which can handle the job, classified as ‘security documents’ by the commission.
Under the plan, which has already been wrapped up by the commission, the sum of N6 billion is to be used in printing ballot papers meant for the presidential and governorship election slated for February next year.
The commission has set aside the sum of N3 billion to be paid to local printers to produce the ballot papers to be used for the National Assembly and House of Assembly elections next year.
Officials of the commission are said to have protested to the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, over the plan to contract the job to foreign firms. Those opposed to the printing of the papers abroad are said to have argued that it is against the country’s interest to print abroad, given that the Presidency had already made a case for the printing of the documents locally.
Opponents of the move are also considering reporting to President Goodluck Jonathan who, as recently as last week, made a case for the printing of security documents with the Nigerian Security and Minting Printing Company, as a means of promoting national security and job creation.
officials cited the successful printing of the ballot papers used in the Anambra, Ekiti and Osun elections by local contractors. The hold up as evidence of local capacity the printing of papers used in the recent governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.