Why we can’t engage Nigerian firms to print ballot papers — INEC chair

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the commission cannot engage Nigerian companies in printing ballot papers and other electoral materials because of lack of capacity.

Responding to questions from members of the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters during the 2017 budget defence yesterday in Abuja, Prof.  Yakubu said much as the commission would wish to engage Nigerian companies, it was practically impossible to do so for fear of disappointment, considering the time frame and the volume of work involved.

“Yes we should look inward, but there are issues such as the volume you have to produce within a short time. If you engage local companies, you may realise that they don’t have the capacity to produce large number within a short period.

“There’s also the Nigerian problem. People will quickly go and register a patent and make claims. Some of the procurements are time bound. We can’t allow somebody to hold us to ransom. In fact, even on the card reader, some people were making claims.

“But this is without prejudice to the suggestion. We’ll find a way of encouraging local companies. The problem is the volume and time frame; there are places that are not motorable.

“The constitution says we have one week to do a rerun. If we have a constitutional crisis on one week to conclude an inconclusive presidential election, I’m afraid we may not meet up. Some places are not motorable at all. I didn’t know this until we conducted the last election in Abuja,” he said.

Prof Yakubu also told the lawmakers that from the 2015 elections to date, about 24 different offices of the commission were gutted by fire nationwide, saying some of them appeared to have been deliberately burnt down.




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