INEC Clarifies Award of N434m Contract to Binani Printing Press

• Commission urged to obey order permitting use of temporary voter’s card

Alex Enumah and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has clarified its award of contract to the tune of N434 million to Binani Printing Press, purportedly owned by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa state, Aishatu Binani
The contract documents signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, showed the award of the contract.
The N434,372,649 contract was for the printing of election results sheets for the 2023 general election.
But reacting to the media report in a statement issued yesterday, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, however, said Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed was not listed as one of the Directors of Binani Printing Press Limited.
He said the procurements in the Commission went through open competitive bidding and Binani Printing Press Limited was one of the security printing companies that applied to print security documents for the Commission.
Okoye noted: “Our attention has been drawn to a news report that the Commission awarded a contract for the printing of sensitive election materials to Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed. It was alleged in the report that she owns Binani Printing Press Limited.
“Procurements in the Commission go through open competitive bidding and Binani Printing Press Limited was one of the security printing companies that applied to print security documents for the Commission.
“After inspecting the company’s facility and carrying out due diligence at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Commission was satisfied that they are qualified printers with the requisite technical capacity, security consciousness and expertise in printing security documents.”
Okoye stressed that the Commission decided to print all the security documents for the 2023 general election in the country to help Nigerian printers and assist in growing the national economy.
He assured that the Commission would continue to carry out due diligence in its procurement activities.
Meanwhile, an Abuja based lawyer, Mr. Victor Opatola, has called on INEC to obey the judgment of a Federal High Court which permitted the use of Temporary Voter’s Card (TVC) in the forthcoming governorship and state houses of assembly’s elections.
Opatola, made the call yesterday, in Abuja, while briefing journalists on moves by the electoral umpire to deny his clients opportunity to exercise their franchise as directed by the court.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court, Abuja, had in a judgment delivered on March 9, ordered INEC to allow eligible voters with the Temporary Voter Cards, (TVC) participate in the March 18 governorship and state houses of assembly’s elections.
Justice Egwuatu had predicated the order on the grounds that the plaintiffs were duly registered and captured in the INEC’s database.
“An order is made compelling the defendant (INEC) to allow the plaintiffs to vote using their Temporary Voter Cards issued by the defendant, the plaintiffs having been duly captured in the National Register of Voter’s database.
” A declaration is made by this court that the plaintiffs, having fulfilled all necessary legal requirements to register and having consequently been captured in the defendant’s (INEC’s) central database and manual, printed paper based record or hard copy format of the defendant’s maintained Register of Voters, the plaintiffs are entitled to vote using their Temporary Voter Cards in the forthcoming 2023 General Election,” the judge said.
Opatola however, lamented that rather than comply with the order, INEC went on appeal and was seeking an order of stay of execution of Justice Egwuatu’s order.
“Despite fulfilling all legal requirements, including registering to vote, my clients were denied their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), and INEC has refused to comply with the court’s judgment which compels INEC to allow them vote using their Temporary Voter’s Card”, the lawyer said.
Speaking on INEC’s appeal, Opatola, pointed out that a stay of execution and filing of notice of Appeal does not invalidate the existing judgment of Federal High Court in this matter.
According to him, “INEC is mandated by law to comply with the subsisting judgment of court until the Court of Appeal decides otherwise. It is also trite law, that the judgment of Court is valid until set aside and takes effect immediately upon pronouncement by the Court, and that as soon as the Court makes the order, that order takes immediate effect.”
While regretting that INEC chose to ignore the court’s decision and has continued to imply their intent to deny eligible voters their right to vote by not complying with the Court’s Judgment, he called on the international community to “condemn INEC’s actions and to stand with the people of Nigeria in demanding that it complies with subsisting Court judgment until if it is upturned as they have appealed it should”.
Opatola also called on all Nigerians who have been disenfranchised by INEC to unite in a call on INEC to obey Court Judgments, adding that, “This is not just about an election; this is about the future of our democracy. We cannot allow INEC to undermine the very foundations of our society. We must stand together, united in our commitment to democracy, and demand that INEC respect the rule of law and the rights of Nigerian citizens.”
The plaintiffs, Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell in the suit filed on February 8, and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/180/2023, had dragged INEC to court for refusing them to vote with their TVC in the 2023 general elections.

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