The Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Friday lambasted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for awarding contracts to companies linked to All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates, saying that INEC chairman, Mahood Yakubu is operating like the appendage of the ruling party.
INEC National Commissioner Festus Okoye confirmed Binani Printing Press Limited was awarded a contract but said the commission never knew one of the directors was APC governorship candidate in Adamawa, Aishatu Binani.
Okoye said the contract was to encourage Nigerian companies and that a preliminary search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) did not show the name of Binani, a Senator.
A statement on Friday by Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu said INEC’s excuse was watery, unconvincing, and suggested INEC was working for the APC.
Shaibu said despite an allocation of over N300 billion as well as financial assistance from the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom, the commission “run the commission without scruples ‘.
“INEC cannot even fool a primary school student. A search on CAC’s portal by youths on Twitter revealed Senator Binani owns the firm that was given a contract to print sensitive INEC material.
“The company with RC 310024, which was registered on March 13, 1997 has Senator Aishatu Ahmed listed as number one.
“Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has no plan of leaving a legacy of free and fair elections. With barely a year left on his tenure, his performance as INEC chairman will become a by-word for failure.”
Shaibu lamented that the electoral umpire received the highest financial allocation ever but “still cannot run the agency effectively and deliver a credible election.”
He said it was not the first time INEC awarded sensitive contracts to APC chieftains, recalling how the printing of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) ahead of 2019 elections was awarded to Mohammed Sani Musa.
Musa, Managing Director of Act Technologies Limited which got the job, was the APC candidate for Niger East senatorial district. He won the election.
Shaibu said Musa was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) before the 2015 elections following allegations by the spokesman for the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation.
Atiku’s aide added that despite complaints from parties, INEC insisted on using the transport services of Musiliu Akinsanya, a.k.a. MC Oluomo to transport ballot papers across Lagos on election day.