Local Printers Demands Higher Patronage Of INEC Printing Jobs ~~~Condemns Overseas Printing Of Ballot Papers

The Nigeria local printers, on Monday, made known their demand for higher patronage of INEC printing jobs and lodged complaints about printing a large chunk of its electoral materials overseas, during a reportorial vox-pop and interview session with printers around the Mushin printing hub.

Following the recent agitation and advocacy of the Mr. Olugbemi Malomo-led leadership of the Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria, on Nigerian printing jobs to be done in Nigeria as stipulated by the CIPPON Act 24 of 2007 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr. Tiamiyu Samad, CEO, of SMD concept and print production

First of all, I must commend your publication for the great job they are doing, it’s a critical question and we have to take a look at it, most especially in the fourth-coming election. As far as printing is concerned in the issue of ballot paper printing, presently as I’m talking to you, a lot of jobs we’re printing now are not directly from the government and not from the registered or professional printers as well, it’s a bargained job with a safe delivery assurance and you get paid and if you check the production cost nowadays, it’s very expensive. As far as government job is concerned, the printing of ballot paper and all other printing material for election you can only access their job if you belong to a political party, I don’t see the process working at all, so I don’t see ballot printing job circulating, maybe it is done among printers in politics which are not supposed to be.

One of my faithful customers in Ogun state used to give me some government work to do for him and he told me he was able to get these jobs periodically due to the fact that he’s part of them, he doesn’t even have a printing shop but access government jobs which professional printers find it so difficult to get, they’ve forgotten that its printers that will bring them out, without the collective effort of the printers, political campaigns, and other visual political awareness cannot be made, they can’t be heard. So, I’m pleading and urging the federal government to please concentrate and work hand-in-hand with printers.

Q: Assuming you’re lucky to get a government job like printing of ballot paper, how do you tend to handle it in terms of capacity and timely delivery?                  A: Well, since it’s a federal government job and comes from the right source, I’ll take it diligently and this kind of job is not a job that you collect and start working on it, there are some things you must first consider, the printing of ballot paper now is a very secretive job that must not be exposed, you must educate and inform your workers of the hazard in the leaking of the ballot paper and then seek for an ultimatum from the government so that you won’t disappoint and get work done on or before the given time.

Q: Do you see the CIPPON agitation about INEC printing jobs being printed locally as a means to re-awaken the unprofitable printing sector?                                     A: Well… it’s a very good idea and I see it as a great thing to happen to Nigeria’s printing sector if only Government complies with CIPPON, to me personally, I can say the government doesn’t trust Nigeria’s print sector because if they do, they would not have carried this printing jobs outside. Government is still the main factor affecting Nigeria’s print sector that they don’t trust for their work, why because to ensure good and standard printing you must have a stable electricity or power supply, look at the state of electricity, it’s poor and also the other option is a generator in which unexpected inflation on fuel price and scarcity of fuel has made that worse.

Also, suppose the government is not trusting local printers with their jobs, especially printing of ballot papers not to get leaked. In that case, they should summon print stakeholders and make an agreement to create a printing hub mainly for the printing and production of electoral print materials, and once done, printers will leave till another election period.

Mr. Felix Kalu Chima, CEO of Jizumba global springs

Yes, during 2011 election a friend of mine travelled to China and returned with a lot of Nigeria political t-shirts with our campaign pictures on it, he told me that he came across all those clothes in a company in China and was told that the t-shirts were left overs and he can take as many as he wants, so that’s how useless our jobs are over there, using a lot of money to fly out job abroad and still have a lot of that left overs , that opens my eyes to what is happening concerning INEC jobs and I’ll stand on the point that INEC should give every printing job to registered printers in Nigeria why because if they patronize Nigeria printers, they will not have such quantity of loss and left over jobs, and also there will be money in circulation, I think there is much more benefit in giving jobs to Nigerians than giving out job to other country people, using our own fund to support and empower countries that we will still go to them and borrow money, whereas there are a lot of jobless printers in our own country which is contributing to the high rate of poverty in Nigeria.

It is very simple before election INEC should work with the federal government and provide machines needed for printing ballot papers and they should empower printers with a loan to get enough machines to be able to qualify to access government printing jobs, so government and INEC don’t have any excuse for taking the job outside.

Q: Does it seems like INEC is not trusting local printers for their printing jobs?      A: That is not an excuse, it’s a factor they created and can be destroyed, so the government didn’t trust people that put their trust in them, and vote for them to become our leaders, they prefer outsiders that bring nothing to their table, I’ve never heard that united states of America or China brings their election materials to Nigeria to print, are they not trusting their people? So, what is stopping our own government from trusting its printers?

Q: Do you think the present state of Nigeria’s power supply and fuel scarcity may be another excuse to deny local printers of accessing INEC jobs?
A: like I said earlier any factor that is created can be destroyed and all these things were caused by them so it’s up to them to regulate power supply and resolve issues on fuel price and its scarcity, they should then empower people so that all these challenges won’t be a problem anymore, if at all those are the issues, it shouldn’t be left undone. This reminds me of a situation during my childhood, my father use to be a Taylor and we found out our dad was under custody as it was in the military regime then, the military people held him to do work for them and they don’t want their product to be done in his office, he stayed with them in the barrack and finished the whole job there and left without anything. INEC can have their agent monitor the printing of ballot papers, that’s not an issue if any material gets lost or missing, they should hold their agent responsible.

Q: Can the personal political mindset of printers be a factor that may be affecting printers from accessing all INEC jobs?
A: Apart from the mindset, there can still be an outside influence where corruption comes in, I can say that’s where corruption comes in and it happens in every country not only in Nigeria, and it’s in the nature of man, it may be the mindset of love for money, love for the football club and political party, what the INEC only to do is to ensure adequate follow-ups on the job given out, even if they get it done abroad it may still not be well protected.

Mr. Sakiru Olayemi, CEO, of Stability Printing Organization

Q: How do you see the agitation of CIPPON concerning INEC jobs being printed locally? Is it an exemplary process for Nigerian printers?
A: Well, it’s a very good process and it’s a thing of progress for Nigeria’s printing sector because it’ll create job employment for printers, it’ll also reduce rivalry among printers since they all have government access, no one will feel less or not been patronized, it’s a good process I must commend.

Q: Do you think the present state of Nigeria’s power supply and fuel scarcity may be another excuse to deny local printers of accessing INEC jobs?
A: Since low power supply and fuel scarcity is a general issue facing the country now, it’s not the fault of printers, it’s still the government to blame for this situation which is affecting everyone, I’m using this medium to urge the federal government to regulate our power supply and see into the fuel scarcity issues.