By Levinus Nwabughiogu
LONDON—The All Progressives Congress, APC, has described the presidential directive that all electoral materials must be printed by the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company, NSPMC, as a threat to the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the organisation of a free, fair and credible elections in the country.
In a statement issued in London by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, the party said the directive became suspicious because it was followed by the dissolution of the management of the NSPMC, which might be a ploy by the President to inject peoples Democratic Party, PDP card-carrying members into the reconstituted management, so the company could become another rigging tool in subsequent elections, especially the 2015 general elections.
‘’On the surface, there is nothing wrong in having the NSPMC print electoral materials, since this will translate to more jobs for Nigerians and save money. However, against the background of the PDP-led Federal Government’s abuse of national institutions like the military and the police, which are used as the enforcement arms of the PDP during elections, it will be dangerous to have them (FG) take control of the printing of ballot papers and other electoral materials via the NSPMC.
‘’Secondly, where is the independence of INEC when the President can just direct it by fiat to do its bidding? INEC should be left to determine where to print its electoral materials to ensure the integrity of such materials.
‘’Thirdly, asking the CBN Governor, an appointee of the President, to now oversee the ‘reform’ of the NSPMC, and the Governor’s promptitude in visiting INEC over the presidential directive, raise more questions. While the CBN is a part owner of the NSPMC, it is not INEC’s supervisory ministry and should not tamper with its duties,’’ it said.
APC said the bottom line was that INEC should be left alone to carry out its onerous duties without interference from any quarters whatsoever.
APC said: ‘’There should be a limit to the desperation of President Jonathan and his party to win the 2015 elections at all costs.
“They have perfected the use of the military, police and DSS, to harass and intimidate the opposition during elections.”