Elections: Implications Of The Shift

Elections: Implications Of The Shift

Nigerians were jolted by the postponement of last week’s elections just a few hours to the scheduled event. The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu had risen from a marathon emergency meeting of the commission that lasted into the early hours of that day to announce that the presidential election billed for the day had been postponed.


That stance of INEC had any little impact that moment, given that it was made public when most Nigerians had gone to bed; only for them to be struck with the reality next morning that the election had indeed been shifted by one week.
In exercising its powers, INEC said it took the decision in national interest and in keeping with the powers vested in it as the overseer of the electoral process.
Professor Yakubu, much later was to expatiate on the expediency of his action, implicating issues of logistics, arson in some of its locations and the latent mix-up in the commission’s operational chain.
AljahzirahNigeria   though, concedes to the fact that it is not an isolated situation, as the nation had witnessed similar situations in the past, we are averse to any justification of the move simply because it had happened in the past. While we may not join issues over the rationale or otherwise of INEC’s action, we are compelled to put some related issues in perspective.
Indeed Nigeria is not new to election shifts but there appears to be some level of divergence on the supposed motives at the various times. Unlike the 2019 elections that were postponed just hours before the polls were supposed to open, INEC postponed the 2015 elections a week before its initial scheduled date.
Even though then-chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, disclosed that the commission was ready to conduct the elections as initially scheduled, the National Council of State  and other political party stakeholders advised that the exercise should be postponed for six weeks due to security reasons.
While many have expressed outrage over the fact that the 2019 elections were postponed only hours to commencement of voting, INEC postponed the 2011 National Assembly elections after people had already started voting.
Voting was already taking place in some parts of the country on April 2, 2011, when Jega announced that it would be suspended due to the late arrival of result sheets in many parts of the country.
With that past, we urge that, it remains in the past as we call on INEC to step up with its game to shut up critics who are already blaming the situation on alleged ineptitude of the commission, even as we express empathy with INEC which has rigorously tried to justify its actions. As much as we show this understanding, we call on INEC to learn from its pitfalls and the clear openness of its critical stakeholders that have offered invaluable suggestions at its last briefing at the weekend.
Implications for the postponement of the elections are varied and far-reaching. As it were, the global community represented from all spheres; former heads of state, civil societies and indeed; the United Nations in whose glare visage we lost out with this character would soon relegate us from our earlier cherished noble heights. So much have been lost in terms of resources from direct and indirect businesses in the process, lost in man-hours and related income/profit losses.  Indeed there is the likelihood of voter apathy ahead, as many who travelled far and wide to vote are unlikely to take a second chance.
Nigerians are the greatest stakeholders and not individuals, groups and organisations, hence; we urge that the national interest must at all times be utmost to the commission who must be seen to serve all Nigerians in accordance to its mandate but not to pander to the whims and caprices of certain interests.
AljahzirahNigeria urges stakeholders to avoid the regime of blame game that is the order of the day, where all fingers point at an impartial umpire. Both major political parties have taken swipes at the INEC, blaming it for taking the decision to favour the other party, thus putting the commission at a very tight end.  
It is instructive that INEC has apologised to the nation for the lacuna that has caused this national embarrassment, it must be seen in the weeks ahead to prove its various critics wrong by defeating its own challenges.


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2019 elections