By Chimezie Godfrey
The reported award of sensitive materials’ contract to a company allegedly linked to Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed has triggered a war of words between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party,PDP Atiku Abubakar.
While responding to the allegation INEC has denied awarding contract of the printing of sensitive election materials to Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed.
In a statement, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye said due diligence carried out at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), before engaging the company revealed that Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed was not listed as one of the Directors of Binani Printing Press Limited.
Okoye therefore stressed that procurements in the Commission go through open competitive bidding, adding that Binani Printing Press Limited was one of the security printing companies that applied to print security documents for the Commission.
He said,”Our attention has been drawn to a news report that the Commission awarded a contract for the printing of sensitive election materials to Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed. It was alleged in the report that she owns Binani Printing Press Limited.
“Procurements in the Commission go through open competitive bidding and Binani Printing Press Limited was one of the security printing companies that applied to print security documents for the Commission. After inspecting the company’s facility and carrying out due diligence at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Commission was satisfied that they are qualified printers with the requisite technical capacity, security consciousness and expertise in printing security documents. However, Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed was not listed as one of the Directors of Binani Printing Press Limited.
“The Commission decided to print all the security documents for the 2023 General Election in the country to help Nigerian printers and assist in growing the national economy.
“The Commission will continue to carry out due diligence in its procurement activities,” Okoye sais
..Awarding contracts to APC candidates shows partisanship- Atiku
While addressing the matter, however, the Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, knocked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for awarding contracts to companies owned by candidates of the All Progressives Congress.
Atiku noted that INEC had in a statement by its National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, admitted to awarding a sensitive contract to the Binani Printing Press Limited.
Okoye, Atiku said ,had claimed that the company was awarded the contract as a way of stimulating the economy and encouraging Nigerian enterprise and that a preliminary search at the Corporate Affairs Commission did not show that Senator Binani was a director.
Responding in a statement, however, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu who signed the PDP candidate’s statement said INEC’s excuse was watery and unconvincing.
Shaibu noted that this would not be the first time that INEC would be awarding sensitive contracts to APC chieftains.
He recalled that ahead of the 2019 poll, INEC also awarded a contract for the printing of Permanent Voters’ Cards to Mohammed Sani Musa who in the same year was contesting for the Niger East senatorial election.