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Presidential Directive on Printing of Ballot Papers Threatens INEC Independence, Free and Fair Elections – APC – September 7, 2014

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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 INEC and the organization of free, fair and credible elections in the country.

In a statement issued in London on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the directive became suspicious because it was followed by the dissolution of the management of the NSPMC, which may be a ploy by the President to inject PDP card-carrying members into the reconstituted management so the company can 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, raises 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 is that INEC should be left alone to carry out its onerous duties without interference from any quarters whatsoever.

“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 security forces, especially the military, the police and the DSS, to harass and intimidate the opposition during elections. While the whole nation is still trying to get them to stop abusing the security forces, they should not draft another institution into the election rigging fray,” the party said.

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