By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: It first started as an allegation in the realm of speculation while many saw it as the usual rantings of Nigeria’s main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, but that is no longer so as the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has confirmed the identity of owners of a company which printed some of the nation’s electoral materials.
Sani Musa, also known as “Sani 313” is reportedly a card carrying member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the ruling party’s Senatorial candidate for Zone B of Niger State.
He was given a contract to ‘upgrade’ the smart card readers and to also print Permanent Voter Cards PVCs.
Confirming the information, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said at a meeting with stakeholders last Saturday that though Musa got the contract for the above, he would not be able to subvert the process to favour himself or the ruling party.
“Yes, I am aware. That company has been working with the commission since 2011. I assure you that we have a strict system. No electoral officer will be compromised. The integrity of the process is protected”, Prof. Yakubu declared.
Unfortunately, the fact that Mohammed Musa has a contract with INEC to supply key voting materials in an election in which he is a major partisan player would presuppose that there is a clear conflict of interest.
Going forward, INEC should engage security agencies to assist it in vetting its major contractors or vendors while also making them swear to an oath of neutrality before awarding them contracts. Perhaps, the commission might want to review its contract award system immediately after the elections.
What is important for now is that the election must not only be free, fair and credible, but it must also be seen by majority of right thinking individuals to be so.