Indications that the 2015 ballots papers and other sensitive electoral materials would be printed in Nigeria emerged yesterday as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, visited the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to seek the enforcement of a directive of the federal government.
Since 1999, almost all the sensitive electoral materials, including the ballot papers have been printed outside Nigeria, particularly in South Africa.
Yesterday, the CBN governor, visited INEC headquarters where he had audience with its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Speaking during the visit, the CBN governor said his visit was in tandem with President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive to ensure that all security printing materials either for election or security documents that are meant to be printed in the country, the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company is given the first choice of refusal, before they can be printed outside the country.
According to Emefiele, “Basically it is a business visit and I will crave your indulgence that we don’t stretch it just beyond just this business visit.”
Emefiele noted that the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company was seeking a way through which it can work with INEC particularly in the area of security documents printing and as it affects the printing of documents for the coming elections in 2015.
“We have come to collaborate with INEC to ensure that the objectives of ensuring that the printing of materials and transportation of materials from the printing press to the various voting centres are discussed, and we are seeking harmonious way of handling it,”. Emefiele added.
The visit is the first of its kind since the commission was established 15 years ago.
Though, INEC did not give the CBN a categorical response, it however promised its readiness to explore ways to collaborate with it on the printing of electoral materials for the 2015 elections.
Jega told the CBN governor and his delegation, “I assure you that INEC is willing to discuss the proposal and will continue to explore more ways to collaborate with CBN and look at global picture in terms of what is best for the country.”
The commission boss noted that the CBN had been a strategic partner of INEC in ensuring free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
He also emphasised that since 2011, the CBN had provided services in term of securing sensitive election materials for the commission, even as he applauded the apex bank for its services.
“INEC and CBN will continue to partner, and I hope that the interest of the larger society should be up most,” he said.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Adamawa State governorship by-election scheduled for October 11, INEC has scheduled the distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in the state from September 9 to 11.
The distribution of the PVCs will take place at the polling unit level.
After September 11, the distribution of PVCs would take place at the local government area offices of the commission.
Eligible voters who registered in 2011 and were given Temporary Voter Cards (TVCs) are to exchange them with the PVCs which would be used for the governorship election and subsequent elections in 2015.
Also in Ogun State, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Sam Olumekun, has charged members of the ad hoc committee on equitable distribution of the newly-allocated PUs to be diligent, transparent and impartial in the task of distributing the newly-allocated polling Units across the state in line with the provision of the guidelines.
The REC gave this advice while inaugurating the six-man committee in his office, last week.
Members of the committee are: Dickson Atiba (Administrative Secretary); Onisarotu Yomi (Deputy Director); Ogunjemilua S.O (Deputy Director); Omoleke M.O (Deputy Director); Olatoye S.O (Assistant Director); and Akpojotor Alfred (CAO).
Atiba, while thanking the REC for the opportunity, said the committee was aware of the seriousness and sensitivity of the assignment and promised to complete it on time.