The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will explore areas to partner the professional printers in the country, preparatory to the 2019 general elections.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was quoted in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja as giving the assurance at a meeting with a 20-member delegation of Professional Printer of Nigeria in his office.
In the statement by Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, his Chief Press Secretary, Yakubu recalled that INEC had been partnering indigenous printers, saying that all printings for the 167 elections conducted since November, 2015 were undertaken by indigenous printers.
“None was contracted to foreign companies. If you did not have the capacity, we wouldn’t have worked closely with you on 167 occasions in the last one year,” Yakubu said.
He added that no commitment could yet be given on the 2019 general elections since the commission was still in the process of planning for the elections.
“We have deliberately announced the dates for the next general elections for a purpose; announcing the dates two years to the elections will enable us to prepare adequately.
“Preparations include the procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, and it is on this note that I want to commend the effort of the professional printers for seeking an audience with the commission.
“We will continue to partner our Nigerian printers,” Yakubu said.
Earlier, according to the statement, Leader of the printers’ delegation, Mr. Yahaya Amfani, said the delegation decided to visit INEC, following newspaper reports credited to the commission that local printers lacked capacity.
Amfani said that the report gave the impression that Nigerians printers do not have the required capacity to print the relevant materials needed for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
He said that while it was true that Nigerian printers did not have enough capacity for INEC’s requirements about 15 years ago, more investment had been made in local printing to meet its current requirements.
“Many of our members have now invested billions of naira to acquire the relevant equipment for large scale printing,” he said. (NAN)